Vintage this year has been highly unusual with the pandemic causing difficulties in many areas for the winery and vineyard staff. Despite everything, the vintage has turned out to be outstanding with the quality of the fruit reaching the winery in excellent condition. The cool conditions after Christmas and the absence of any extremely hot days have produced fruit with good natural acidity and vibrant fruit flavours.
There have been several grape varieties that have really stood out with outstanding fruit that should produce exceptional finished wines. Balgownie’s winemaker Tony Winspear has nominated the fruit from the Centre Block as being as particularly good. The Centre Block is one of the original blocks at Bendigo, planted in 1969 by Stuart Anderson and the age of vines means that they often produce sensational fruit. Tony is confident that he will be able to produce a single vineyard shiraz from the Centre Block, a wine to keep an eye out for when released.
The Pinot Noir from the Yarra valley has also looked fabulous, although the quantity of fruit has been much reduced. We have several different clones of Pinot Noir planted in the Yarra Valley and from this vintage the MV6 and 114 clones have been delivered to the winery in superb condition. This fruit is likely to form the backbone of the Estate pinot Noir for the 2020 vintage.
Harvest has continued this week in both Bendigo and the Yarra Valley with the extra sunshine ripening the fruit and resulting in our pickers and winery staff being hard at work.
In Bendigo, we have picked Viognier, an unusual French variety that produces a unique and delicious food wine. The fruit was well balanced and very elegant with delicious fruit flavours. Once in the winery the fruit was crushed and allowed to ferment using wild yeast in well-seasoned French barriques, in order to develop a complex finished wine.
This week we also picked the Young Shiraz Block and Fruit Salad Block, both of which are destined for our fabulous Rosé. The sales of the have been terrific since its introduction and each year we have expanded production to cope with the increasing sales. The fruit was hand harvested before being whole bunched pressed to preserve the fruit flavour in the finished wine. The wine spends a brief amount of time on skins to give the wine its beautiful blush colour before finishing fermentation in stainless steel.
Despite everything that has been going on in the world, the fruit in the vineyard continues to mature nicely with the sunshine ripening the berries.
Our Chardonnay fruit in Bendigo was hand harvested this week and were in great condition. The yields in the vineyards have been quite low but the quality of the fruit harvested has been excellent. The grapes were picked with low baumé, but very good acid which should result in a fabulous wine that is capable of aging for an extended period. Once delivered to the winery, the small crop begun its fermentation, with 60% allowed to ferment with indigenous, wild yeast to encourage complexity in the finished wine. The remaining 40% was inoculated with a cultured yeast.