2019 Vintage report
Yarra Valley & Grampians
In my 21 years of vintages, 2019 will go down as the most memorable to date; the most intense, the most inspired, the most rewarding and the most fun. There were some challenging complexities to overcome as a result of the season too, which is an aspect of making wine that I really love… the connectedness to nature.
Despite a very dry winter, the Yarra Valley experienced a very wet end to spring (October and November) which contributed to strong vegetative growth to support healthy yields. These conditions also brought some downy mildew pressure that was thankfully alleviated by some dry, breezy conditions. A hot January, and some intense heat spikes throughout the ripening period kept us on our toes with the harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (both sparkling and still), and generally mild conditions from February, and what felt like the arrival of an “early Autumn”, provided the perfect conditions for an excellent Marsanne and Syrah vintage.
Fruit quality across the board was very high. Nothing needed to be added to the wines, or subtracted. With earlier harvesting than average in order to dodge the heat and capture freshness, the early signs are that the wines are of exceptional quality, with many showing signs for longevity. Flavours are tight, complex and well-defined, structures are firm and savoury, and acids are bright and sluicing.
The Grampians experienced similar conditions, with a slow steady ripening of shiraz throughout February followed by rapid escalation after some hot weather late in February. Thanks to the cool nights and mornings in this continental climate, the intense, deep and rippling flavours are balanced by sparkling bright acidity. Two separate vineyards were harvested on the 8th March, both in the Armstrong district just south of Great Western – each distinctly different and full of character. Both are outstanding.
For both regions, yields were slightly below average with high bunch numbers compensating for small bunches and berries. This resulted in wines of excellent colour, structure and flavour concentration.
Overall, the wines in the cellar show impressive balance, largely as a result of harvesting “on the beat, not after it”, and as a result, display lower alcohols, and wonderful purity.