Monday, November 5, 2007

2007 South Australian Vintage – the good, the bad, and the interesting

The good news with this years vintage was that most areas had rest over Easter. The fruit was picked and in the winery a good three or four weeks early in most regions. Volumes were down significantly, down to almost a third of the average. It was tough work hunting for the berries in the vineyard, so we deserved an early break.

Across the country the vineyards succumbed to drought, frost, bushfire taint, and in some areas January rains. All this resulted in a 30 year low yield with a total production down 33% from last year. This affected reds more than white varieties.

In the Barossa Valley, the average was for volumes to be down by between 40-60%. But the fruit seems to be quite variable, with some reports indicating average quality with poor vine canopies leading to sunburnt fruit. However, there are some wine makers who have reported that the drought reduced the berry size. This leads to very good intense flavours, with great colour, and acid.
In McLaren Vale, the average volumes were down by between 50 to 80%. In the winery it appears that the fruit quality is showing good potential, with great colour, and flavour intensity. But they are not showing the same length of flavour as the 2004 and 2005 vintages.

In contrast the Adelaide Hills appeared to have a very good vintage, with warm days and cool nights helping with flavour development and acid retention. Across the region quantity will be slightly below average. Some winemakers are expecting some of the best ever fruit quality from this vintage.

Ask any winemaker what the best vintage is, and they will generally reply the one they are currently selling. The 2007 vintage will be interesting; with some fantastic wine already being released - if you can find them!

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