Grapes are sourced from three Margaret River vineyards, primarily the Estate Vineyard planted in 1972, along with the McHenry Vineyard, planted in 1994 and our Foxcliffe Vineyard, located 10 kilometres south of Margaret River, planted in 1999. The planting material, from California, was brought into Western Australia in 1963 through the state agricultural department. All sites share similar soil types to the Estate Vineyard which grows on deep gravel laterite soils derived from decomposed ironstone over clay sub soils. Vine spacing is 2200 vines/hectare and is spur pruned on a low cordon. The Estate vines are dry farmed and have reached a venerable age maintaining a lovely balance between canopy density and fruitfulness. The younger Foxcliffe vines require more canopy management and crop thinning to achieve a similar balance.
A cold but calm winter was followed by a pleasantly mild spring lacking the extremes occasionally endured in the south west. The growing season was dry from mid-November through to mid-April with only 80mm of rain falling during this period. The lack of rain was the most significant characteristic of the vintage and when combined with the mild temperatures it augured well for the grapes' development. Irrigation was a saviour this year and its judicious use allowed the vines to maintain sufficient health to ripen the fruit. Ripening was slow with most varieties harvested up to seven days later than normal. The rains held off throughout March and April to allow a smooth, problem free harvest.
All the zinfandel was handpicked between 14 and 19 March. Sugar levels were relatively high, ranging from 25.5 to 30 brix.
After crushing the must is allowed to soak for several days prior to fermentation to soften up the raisins before being innoculated with a vigorous yeast strain. The wine steadily ferments to dryness in barrel by springtime and naturally completes malolactic fermentation. We use 50% new oak barrels, primarily French, for a total of 20 months.
6% alcohol, 6.7 g/L acidity, pH 3.57