Good winter rainfalls in winter 2010, followed on from good winter rains in 2009, recharging the aquifers. This became somewhat of too much of a good thing when rain continued in regular intervals through summer and into autumn 2011.
Unprecedented incidence of downy mildew and powdery mildew, followed by botrytis, put our vineyard staff under intense pressure to maintain protection of canopies and fruit.
Vintage began with Chardonnay with high natural acids and low pHs. These have produced fine elegant Chablis style wines. Red fruit followed with lower baumes than normal 11.5 -12.5 for much of the vintage with a jump in baume at the end.
Flavours however were riper than the baumes suggested. Disease issues caused picking of many varieties and some vineyards were not picked at all notably Shiraz and Merlot.
Our best blocks on shallower soils have produced better wines as usual and our focus was squarely on Cabernet Sauvignon, with resultant wines being more in the old Coonawarra Claret style with lowish alcohols and medium weight and structure.
Selective harvesting of our blocks and careful attention to the condition of fruit has produced fine bright wines with cooler vintage aromas of violets, blackberry, blackcurrant flower, together with some seaweed, olive, mint and leafy characters.
We reduced our long macerations to 15-18 days on skins and have reduced our new oak input this year to produce a more delicate Old Coonawarra style this vintage.