2013 was a very warm and dry vintage.
2013 was also a wonderful vintage.
Despite near record warmth at all three of the Tapanappa terroirs, there were very few days above 35°C, no extended heat waves and it was night warmth that contributed to the elevated heat summations.
Night warmth is good.
The vine can work for 24 hours of the day, producing sugar during the day and converting that sugar into aromas, flavours, colour and tannins day and night. The fruit ripens quicker, earlier and more completely at lower sugar levels, converting to wines of greater intensity and complexity at lower alcohol levels.
2013 was dry as well as being warm. For the growing season from October 2012 to the end of April 2013,
- The Piccadilly Valley received 203.2mm’s, 50.5% of average rainfall,
- Parawa Fleurieu Peninsula received 209.6mm’s, 63%of average rainfall,
- Wrattonbully received 88.2mm’s, 40% of average rainfall.
The dry growing season contributed to healthy, small, concentrated berries and created the strong ripening signal in the vine at veraison, which is so essential to proper ripening. From the last 10 years of temperature records at each of Tapanappa’s vineyards, which are reproduced at the end of this report,
- Foggy Hill (Fleurieu Peninsula) had 1300.8°C days making it the warmest (next was 2010 at 1277.3°C days),
- The Tiers (Piccadilly Valley) had 1316.7°C days, third warmest vintage behind 2010 (1360.1°C days) and 2007 (1327.4°C days).
- Whalebone Vineyard (Wrattonbully) had 1602°C days second warmest behind 2010 at 1608°C days.
2013 vintage is a perfect example of the terroir maxim, “the best wines are produced from warm vintages in cool sites.”
Tiers and Foggy Hill
The heat summation at The Tiers for 2013 was 1316°C days and at Foggy Hill a very similar 1300.8°C days.
However the distribution of heat during the day and night is very different in the two vineyards because of Foggy Hill’s proximity to the sea and The Tiers higher altitude.
The average growing season minimum night temperature at The Tiers is 9.5°C, 2.4°C cooler than Foggy Hill at 11.9°C.
At The Tiers the Chardonnay shuts down at night, retaining malic acid and delicacy while at Foggy Hill the Pinot keeps working at night producing aroma, flavour, colour and tannin.
The Pinot at Foggy Hill (picked 5, 6 &7 of March) ripens well ahead of the Chardonnay at The Tiers (picked 14 & 15 of March).
The maritime climate at Foggy Hill can be summarized by its very low daily temperature range across the growing season of 8.67°C compared to the moderate 13.1°C of The Tiers.
While the average minimum night temperature at Foggy Hill was warmer by 2.4°C, the average maximum day temperature was 20.5°C, 2.6°C cooler compared to The Tiers at 23.1°C.
The cooler day temperatures protect the delicate and fragile aromatics of the Pinot at Foggy Hill.
Foggy Hill experienced just 24 days of the 212-day ripening period above 30°C and 3 days above 35°C.
The Tiers experienced 30 days above 30°C and 5 days greater than 35°C.By contrast to these very cool terroirs the warm Whalebone site in Wrattonbully experienced 60 days above 30°C and 24 days above 35°C, temperatures required to elicit the very best from the Cabernet family and Shiraz.
The climate statistics for vintage 2013 do explain why it was such a wonderful vintage in our three very different terroirs.
They explain why Foggy Hill is so perfectly suited to fussy Pinot Noir and The Tiers to more robust Chardonnay.
They also explain why Whalebone is suited to the later ripening and fuller bodied red varieties of the Cabernet family and Shiraz.
I can’t wait until the 2013 wines are closer to finishing and to eventual release to the market. Make sure you save some money and space in your cellar to view them for yourselves.
Tapanappa’s weather stations: Heat Summations (°C Days).