Bindi Harvest No. 25.
The crop is in, long live the crop!
In fact, the crop is now a crop no longer but rather has been transformed, by the miracle of native yeast fermentation, into beautiful wine.
The 2015 harvest has one similarity to 2014 (stunning wine quality) however there the comparisons end. Where 2014 produced an extraordinarily small yield, 2015 saw the vines return a yield in line with 2010 and 2004 at around five tonnes per hectare (comparing to below two tonnes per hectare in 2014).
Following a treacherous year like 2014 the temptation is to accept a very high yield, if that is the season and the vines response, in 2015 however we did considerable shoot thinning in Spring and followed up with a green harvest removal of 15% of the crop in early February. This focus on vine balance saw the stunning crop ripen evenly and the harvest ran between March 25th and April 1st.
The fermentations have progressed very evenly, though, as is typical, half the Chardonnay barrels are still fermenting six weeks after harvest! They continue on and some may even ferment for ten months. The Pinot Noirs are resting in barrel with the odd barrel fighting the cold and throwing out a bung as some malo-lactic conversion takes place. All the Pinot barrels contain fine yeast lees and the Chardonnay barrels will likely keep their solids and yeast lees until the end of the year. Interestingly, all through the growing season and harvest our mindset was “patience, patience” and the same held for decisions on pressing (to achieve good tannin structure). The same is holding true with the Chardonnay ferments and the time the wines spend on yeast lees in barrel.
Pleasingly the new High Density (11,300 vines per hectare) Pinot planting done in October 2014 grew very well and may even produce a few barrels in 2016. All clones grew evenly and the enormous amount of hand cultivation care saw the soil remain generally weed free and gave the vines an excellent start. This coming season will see the arrival of a specialist French over row tractor to manage this and the next three small plantings we embark upon.
As we enter the chill of winter our feelings are of good news, good news and challenging news. Good news on the new vineyard, good news on the outstanding success of the 2015 harvest and a challenge ahead with the upcoming release of the tiny amount of 2014 wine.