Almost the latest Easter possible and in only a handful of vintages over the past 33 at Piccadilly would we still have fruit to harvest and fermentations in exponential phase on April the 23rd. Despite the very late harvest, Easter is providing family time down on the Fleurieu Peninsula with a sausage sizzle at the beautiful Seabrook Farm on the edge of the Great Southern Ocean and the Deep Creek National Park. The few people responsible for the production of Maylands Farm lamb and the grapes for Tapanappa joined our family and friends for a relaxing day in the beautiful garden at Seabrook. An Easter egg hunt for the children and taste the next bottle for the adults. Bottle of the day, brought by its maker Geoff Weaver, the 2004 Ferus Sauvignon Blanc. In Geoff’s words, “produced as naturally as possible”, the grapes were grown at Geoff and Judy’s Stafford Ridge Vineyard in Lenswood as nearly organic as is sensible and the wine was made without additions, a spontaneous fermentation and no fining or filtering.
The young Ferus 2004 apparently bore the smelly scars of the spontaneous fermentation immediately after bottling but no sign of that now. Textured and complex the wine contradicts the popular belief Sauvignon Blanc does not age gracefully and it expresses ripe complex but still fresh fruit. Compared to the commercial tide of Sauvignon Blanc lemonade that is dominating white wine commerce, the 2004 Ferus is a “truly unique expression of its terroir”.
We press off the Foggy Hill Pinot on Wednesday and prepare the wine for malo-lactic fermentation in Alliers oak barriques of which about one third are new.
The early harvested 2011 Chardonnay from the young 1.5mX1.5m Tiers Vineyard is fermenting slowly in 2 use Vosges oak barriques. The later pick from the old vines is settling as juice in tank prior to beginning fermentation on Wednesday in 50% new and 50% 1 use Vosges oak barriques. These are the products of a very cool vintage of marginal ripening conditions and will require full malo-lactic fermentation to soften the acid and produce complexity and texture. What a contrast to the uniformly very warm 2010 vintage.
This next week after another week of overdue autumn sunshine we will make the final decision on picking the battle scarred Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. It will require a supreme effort of in vineyard bunch selection to produce a tiny quantity of 2011 Whalebone Cabernet and we may well decide the quality standard is unachievable. Not since 1989 have I made the decision to skip a bad vintage so it could be a significant week in many ways.