Commencing quite late in the season, the 2017 vintage started almost 2 weeks late in the second week of March. Cool conditions through the summer months, meant that although they took their time, the grapes retained all of their freshness and varietal composition. Once started, flavours of the white grapes were outstanding and we saw the first of the Chardonnays come in and go straight to barrel, with the promise of our Bellbrae Estate 'Boobs' Chardonnay high on our radar. Following closely behind the Chardonnay intake was ,firstly, the start of Pinot Noir and then secondly, the Sauvignon Blanc. This was a strange occurrence, as the Sauvignon Blanc usually beats the Pinot Noir in the winery door by a fortnight! The flavours, however, were superb and showed all the hallmarks of a cooler, more classical vintage which bodes well for our Bellbrae Estate 'Bird Rock' Pinot Noir & 'Southside' Sauvignon Blanc drinkers in the future. We also can't forget the Longboard wines, which are the staple of our portfolio. Great flavours in all varieties plus a good abundance of fruit, has meant we have been able to grow our stocks of all these varietal wines whilst maintaining quality.
By the Easter weekend, we had most of our fruit harvested and tucked away in the winery in either tanks or barrels. We were then waiting patiently for the Shiraz to develop the colour and flavours we expect from this wonderful grape variety. Usually, this occurs from the middle of April through to Anzac day, but as we had seen earlier, this vintage was well behind and we finally harvested the last of the Shiraz on the 10th of May......very late indeed! Thankfully, the grapes lived up to their potential, and we have seen some rich colours and spicy flavours that are the hallmark of our cool climate Shiraz!
I hope you get to enjoy the fruits of our labours in the coming months and years