Phew!!! finally, vintage 2016 is over! It feels like it lasted forever when in reality harvest only lasted about 7 weeks. We picked the first grapes (Chardonnay for Cobbers Sparkling) at Mt Panorama Estate on 13 February and the last of our grapes were picked on 3 April (Cabernet Sauvignon) from 3 Views Vineyard.
In many ways the 2016 vintage mirrors the 2015 vintage especially with the dry and warm finish to the vintage. The biggest difference between 2016 and 2015 vintages was the water profile going into Autumn. In 2015, we had a full water profile at the beginning of February while in 2016 we had little water in the soil at the beginning of February. 150 or so mm of rain in January helped but really only helped to keep the leaves from falling off. Amazingly, we picked the Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Panorama Estate Vineyard on 14 March – 11 days earlier than 2015 which, to date, was the earliest picking day for these grapes. Both 2015 and 2016 will be excellent years for fuller bodied reds…judging by the 2015 reds in barrels right now, we have a lot to look forward to.
As usual, the work in the Mount Panorama Estate Vineyard performed by Ros Stitt was exemplary. Thanks to Ros and the owners (Garry and Susan Baxter) for ensuring the vineyard was kept in the best shape possible. I am also excited about the red grapes I have purchased from Don and Ruth Anderson’s 3 Views Vineyard. It is in Caloola about 25 kms south of Bathurst and, at well over 900 metres, is a very cool climate vineyard. I have a small batch of Malbec and Tempranillo to play with as well as additional Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. This allows me to have more options in blending and/or experimenting with a new wine or two while still maintaining my focus on local grapes.
There’s still lots of work to do to make sure the 2016 reds are racked and in their proper maturation vessels, the 2016 whites are fined, filtered and ready for bottling in late August and the 2015 reds are blended and fined/filtered for bottling in late August as well. But…..thank goodness the picking, crushing and pressing are finished.
A couple of other pieces of news for your information. First, in a previous blog I talked about an upcoming piece of noteworthy news to report. Well, most of you may already know this but, for those who don’t, the 2013 Bella Luna Chardonnay was chosen by NSW Government House to be included on a wine list from which select wines will be served at Vice Regal lunches and dinners over the coming year.
They placed their first case order last week. I am happy that the Governor of New South Wales (Governor The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC) is committed to showcasing New South Wales wines along with other products and we hope this exposure of our wine will help put Bathurst on the NSW wine map. Unfortunately, we have only a small amount of this wine and have been required to hold back all of our remaining stock for Government House for 2016.