The fruit comes from our Wallcliffe, Trinders
and Crossroads vineyards. The typical soils of
these vineyards are geologically ancient, free
draining sandy loams with a high percentage
of lateritic gravel. The vines are now fully
dry grown and, early in the season, manually
thinned and leafed to expose the fruit. Picking
decisions are made by taste only; picking is by
hand in small batches with lot sizes determined
by vine vigour and ripeness within blocks.
The preceding winter gave healthy rains,
replenishing soil moisture levels which led
into a milder spring with higher than average
rainfall. Flowering in all varieties was delayed
by 10 days compared to the 2016 season,
with wonderful sunshine giving excellent set
(fruitful flowers into berries) and thus great
crop potential across all varieties. With a mild
summer, punctuated by only a few hot days
(over 30C), veraison (colouring and softening
of berries) in early February came three weeks
later than 2016 (mid January) giving one of the
latest yet highest quality vintages on record.
The fruit is 100% destemmed and lightly
crushed to a combination of open and closed
fermenters of between 120kg to 2.5 tonne
capacity. The ferments proceed with wild
yeast and operations are decided day by
day without recipe to optimize potential and
complexity. Post fermentation macerations
are long- up to 120 days- to develop silky
tannin structures before light basket pressing.
Malolactic fermentation takes place in French
oak barriques (5% new), the wine aged on
lees (yeast sediment) for 16 months and then
blended and bottled.
14% alcohol, 5.6 g/l total acidity, 3.64 pH.