MEMORABLE. That’s the word I’d use to best sum up 2020!
For this part of the world, and after three years of drought, the beginning of 2020 saw bushfires that had already ravaged many parts of the country, only to be followed by widespread, flooding rains. Little did we know, these challenges from the elements would be the easy part of 2020… when along came COVID-19!
At Lake’s Folly, we’ve weathered many of the storms that Mother Nature has thrown our way over the decades, but the uncertainty around what COVID would mean for all of us, was unnerving to say the least. Fortunately, to date, our worst fears have largely not been realised in this country, and we hope this run of luck will continue.
Concerns around the fires, did initially cause us some anxiety as we watched what was happening across the country. The Hunter Valley ultimately faring better than a number of other wine-producing regions impacted by the bushfires in 2020 and, fortunately, the vineyard here was spared any direct impact (the nearest fire front situated more than 25 kilometres to the west of Lake’s Folly). Since then, it’s safe to say we’ve also learned a lot about what is real, versus the ‘hype’ around the indirect effects.
During 2020, we were very fortunate to have one of Australia’s top authorities - Professor Ian Porter, of La Trobe University – working with us and providing invaluable advice; learning that a complex range of factors and variables need to be taken into account (too numerous to cover here).
With several rounds of comprehensive laboratory tests and analysis on our fruit, juice samples, and finished wine, our 2020 Chardonnay has returned results that show smoke at essentially non-detectable levels. There are a number of reasons for this: not least of which, our different approach to handling the fruit – without compromise (but at greater expense), and in particular by minimising grape skin contact and meticulous handling of the fruit (resulting in lower volumes of finished wine, though). The fruit quality in 2020 was also as good as in 2017, 2018, and 2019; another advantage.
THE BOTTOM LINE? The 2019 Cabernets is one of our recent run of excellent seasons, which is a stand out, and the 2020 Chardonnay will prove a favourite of those who love a bigger, Burgundy-style.
2019 Cabernets - 96 / 100
Great Hunter characters of cedar, cigar box and earth with black cherry, liquorice, and blackcurrant aromas. The palate is fine, but has power. Classy, stylish, with great length of flavour; a long-living wine with great oak support and fine tannins. An outstanding vintage.
2020 Chardonnay - 95 / 100
Traditional Folly nose of white stone fruit and ripe peach, with perfect subtle oak influence. Nowadays, we are using more large-format oak, and it shows in the elegance; but make no mistake, this is a rich, opulent wine, not unlike a great, big Burgundy! Glycerol roundness, but still hallmark length of flavour. An earlier-drinking style, to be enjoyed now, and for the next 3-5 years.
Please enjoy these new releases (with lower volumes produced from these vintages, we don’t expect they will be available for long), and let’s all look forward to the day where Corona is just a beer, Donald is just a duck, and the only bubbles we need to be concerned about, are those in our Champagne glass!