Vintage 2014 started with good winter rains and a full recharge of the aquifers and complete soil flushing, setting the vines up for a good start to the season. However weather remained cool during the start of the season and was cold during flowerings, which lead to a reduced set and spread set. This resulted in crops being down, approximately half of a normal year.
January and February brought an unprecedented three heat waves, however a big dump of rain before this and the persistence of cool nights moderated the effects of this heat and the vines came out in very good shape.
Following this heat the season turned cool again and we saw a long slow ripening finish to the season with vintage starting with Chardonnay mid-February followed by a 2 week break between whites and reds, then final fruit coming in during the first few days of May. Coonawarra miraculously missed the heavy rains that swept across most of SA and Southern Victoria in the last few weeks of vintage, with the cold fronts passing either above or below our region, leaving us with a few mms falling here and there.
White wines look delicate but ripe in flavour profile, while red wines are densely coloured with deep fruit flavours and medium bodied tannins. They will be elegant wines structure wise, but the Cabernets in particular have beautiful “just ripe” elderberry and mulberry fruit typical of cooler years and remind me a lot of the of 2004s. We have been incredibly lucky with the weather this year and fruit has benefited from extended hang time, due to the cooler dry weather in March and April. This will be a very good vintage for Coonawarra.