The 2010 season is progressing well

The 2010 season is progressing well. We have completed our crop thinning and the first signs of colour change in a very few pinot noir berries is just appearing. We expect the full veraison to take place in the first week of February which indicates a harvest time towards the end of March. Next week we will begin putting out the nets to protect the ripening fruit from the birds.

I visited the Heathcote vineyard yesterday and the fruit is looking very good. The crop is around the 2.5 tonnes per acre mark (about 6 tonnes per hectare) and the canopy is full and green but certainly not dense or vigorous. The crop will be hand harvested around the 20th February.

The 2009 Composition wines and the 2009 Pyrette Shiraz are coming towards the end of their time in barrel and will be bottle on February the 27th. They are looking absolutely delicious and I am quite excited about their style and quality.

Happy New Year

We enter a new year debating what to call it. Twenty Ten is what I’m going with. But I will accept Two Thousand and Ten!

The vines are looking excellent apart from some very minor hail damage from last week’s thunderstorm. The loss would be well below half of one percent. The damaged berries are already drying up and will shortly fall from the bunch.

The season has been impressive for the consistent falls of good rain that are maintaining excellent soil moisture with the follow up of warm, dry weather that has kept disease pressure low. The canopy and fruit is in excellent health. We have already dropped some fruit from small canes and removed some lateral shoots on the eastern side of the canopy to allow for greater sunlight and air penetration. Even though we did not experience any shrivel or sunburn last February we are not doing any removal of shoots on the western side for fear of extreme heat and the possibility of sunburn.

Over the last two weeks we have racked all the 2009 wines for the first time off lees and sulphured them and returned them to barrel. The wines were on lees for around nine months. Now that they are settling down the true nature of each wine is more transparent and the quality of the vintage is evident. The wines are very intense and complex. There is a bit of 2005 following 2004 going on with 2009 following 2008. By this I mean a year of extra intensity and complexity following a vintage of super perfume and silkiness. That said, 2005 had more acidity where as 2009 has more tannin. Generalisations, of course, but it’s always a interesting mindset to compare and interpret each new vintage in relation to those gone by.

We turn our thoughts to the netting early February, bottling 2009 Compositions and 2009 Pyrette late February and the receipt of the 2010 Pyrette Shiraz grapes late February, early March.