Very good winter rains set up an excellent start to the season, but poor weather during flowering and the hangover from 2011 poor weather during bud initiation affected set reducing yields down to 0.8-1.8t/acre particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Chardonnay and Merlot yields were better with 2.5-3.5t/acre crops.
An early short heat spell brought on Chardonnay and Shiraz very early, with Chardonnay picking starting on the 20th February the earliest we have ever picked. This was followed by mild conditions with cool nights that gave the rest of the vintage time to catch up with sugar ripeness. The balance of vintage took place in excellent Indian summer weather conditions and fruit obtained a better balance, with no disease pressure.
Reds look to have deep colours and nice, not too ripe flavour profiles with more medium body structure. Tannin ripeness was definitely delayed and while tannins show a little more astringency than ideal, similar to 2004 they should balance out with oak treatment and time.
Merlot and Cabernet Franc have performed well this vintage, testimony to the milder vintage conditions. We anticipate we will be able to make small volumes of reserve wines, and that these will show good cellaring potential.