2017 CABERNETS and 2018 CHARDONNAY
The wait is finally over, and our much-anticipated new releases are here!
We're excited to be sharing these vintages with you - 2017 being the first of a three-year consecutive run ('17, '18, '19) of excellent Hunter Valley vintages (more on that later).
2017 Cabernets 96 / 100
Vibrant, fresh red and black fruits - mostly black cherry, blackcurrant and plums, with underlying aromas of forest floor and hints of cedar. The palate is incredibly stylish and complex, with primary red and black fruits dominant. Medium-bodied, stylish, complete wine with its traditional long finish. Benchmark Folly!
2018 Chardonnay 95 / 100
Initially subtle nose (owing to its youth) - with 'air' and time, the wine opens up to display white peach, apple and tropical aromas. The palate is seamless, displaying ripe Chardonnay flavours with wonderful texture and generosity. Lovely French oak cradles the fruit perfectly, and allows the wine to finish with a chalky minerality that will improve immeasurably over time, with cellaring.
SO, WHAT MAKES A 'GOOD VINTAGE'?
We have to go back to the start of the vineyard's cycle, almost 12 months before the grapes are picked: ideally, it begins with a good 'shutdown' post-harvest, where the vines hold on to their original leaf (stored carbohydrates in the leaves are re-absorbed back into the vine for the next season's growth), followed by a cold winter, when the sap stops flowing, and the vines go into a good dormancy period (when we prune). Some good rain during winter/early spring helps with good, even budburst, and some subsequent warm and sunny weather that facilitates the ripening process, coupled with just the right amount of rain at various times.
Veraison (when the berries turn soft and change colour) is also an important time for soil moisture (December/January), as at this time it ensures the vines aren't stressed and can put all their energy into berry flavour formation. Of course, we don't want too much rain for fear of disease so, ideally, dry and hot sunny days at the 'business end' allows grape sugars to reach their optimum prior to harvesting (around late January through to mid-March at Lake's Folly).
And there you have it - an ideal season. Surely, that's not too much to ask?!
This combination of ideal conditions doesn't happen every year, but it did occur in both 2017 and 2018 (#Breaking : also for Vintage 2019, just completed) - hence my excitement about these releases!
I feel certain you'll enjoy these wines, and our Team here look forward to welcoming you if you visit the cellar door during the year.
Rod Kempe - Winemaker