Shiraz is mainly sourced from our Wallcliffe and Trinders Estate Vineyards, planted 26 and 13 years ago respectively, where the soils are gravel laterite derived from weathered granite with a gravel-clay sub-soil. The vines are predominately vertically trained and cane pruned. A portion is also trained by the Scott Henry and TK2 method to help control the vigorous nature of the vines in certain areas. A small amount of shiraz is sourced from the McHenry and Darnell Vineyards planted 7 kilometres west and 20 kilometres east of Margaret River township, both on the banks of the river. Here the soils are of a free draining, alluvial based type with a sheltered northerly aspect. Karri Park Vineyard fruit is a new addition to the blend exhibiting intense peppery flavours. Shoot and leaf removal is employed during the course of the season on all vines.
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.
Grapes were harvested from 28 March to 10 April. Sugar averaged 24.5 brix and acid levels ranged between 5.6 and 6.5 grams per litre. Yields ranged between 4.5 and 8.3 tonnes per hectare reflecting the variable nature of the year. A small percentage of the fruit was hand-picked and conveyed to the fermenters as whole bunches with the balance machine-harvested and crushed on top of the bunches. Fermentation proceeded rapidly and, following basket pressing, malolactic fermentation quickly follows in large oak vats. The wine was racked to barrel in July/August and aged in a 50:50 combination of French and American oak barrels of which 35% was new. The final blending took place in October 2004.
15% Alcohol, pH 3.50, 6.5 g/L Acidity