The 2021 growing season was one of the most challenging in recent memory. It kicked off with a wet drizzly spring, followed by a hot dry summer with persistently strong easterly winds. Despite the challenges of spring and summer the grapes were looking fantastic heading into February. However Mother Nature had more surprises in store, with a huge amount of rain brought to the south west regions in February and March. Margaret River in particular copped the majority of the rain.
Throughout the final months of the season, clever viticulture practices to minimise or remove botrytis, precise calls on picking dates as well as skillful winemaking decisions were required to reduce the influence of moulds on the final product.
Varieties harvested from our Geographe vineyard are looking exceptional, with yields being slightly better than those further South. With an earlier flowering and fruit set as well as some warmer weather and dry wind in January, this vineyard was very fortunate to avoid the intermittent rain events that affected Margaret River.
We were lucky to pick our Chardonnay for sparkling base with almost no disease or bird pressure in early February, kicking off an early start to our vintage.
We followed a few weeks later with a selective pick for our Rose, once again using our lifted and floral Malbec.
Both Malbec and Merlot varieties are looking exceptional, with our Malbec improving in quality and flavour each year.
All varieties we harvested within the Margaret River Region were challenging picks. With consistently unpredictable weather conditions, very precise picking calls were made to avoid the massive rain events that inundated the region. Chardonnay in particular was a very challenging harvest. Many parcels were picked early to help minimise botrytis rot.
Unfortunately the last of the torrential rain caused by the cyclone hit just before harvest of our Cabernet Sauvignon. With the fruit not being quite ready to pick, our hand was forced to harvest what was the ripest and leave out the remainder to endure the rain. Luckily Cabernet Sauvignon has much thicker skin than other red varietals, which helped limit the botrytis damage. The finished wine is true to its expressive Margaret River style and will be remarkable.
Despite higher than normal rainfall in Mount Barker also, our Riesling and Shiraz vines almost enjoyed the fresh rain throughout the growing season. We managed to pick all of our Riesling right before the second major cyclone event, with the fruit coming almost 100% clean with great yields and flavours.
The Shiraz was on a knife edge coming into the final weeks of the season; however we got lucky with 2 warm and dry weeks right before harvesting. The Shiraz is looking fantastic with delicate violet and peppery notes.
We would like to thank our very hardworking winemaking team for their efforts, our vintage staff who made it into the state with G2G passes and our Afghan picking crew who handpicked our Geographe vineyard.
Lastly but by no means least we thank the viticulture team for their outstanding performance in a year shaped by COVID and the weather events brought on by La Nina.
2021 was a very challenging but educational vintage with what will be some beautifully rewarding wines to enjoy.