I am sitting in Auckland, waiting to go through to Adelaide at 3am Adelaide time, having started from Chile 18hours ago after a twelve hour-day in the vineyards of Alto Jahuel and Leyda. It will be raining on my Pinot Noir on the Fleurieu Peninsula and on my Chardonnay in the Piccadilly Valley when I arrive home in 6 hours time.
The vineyards I have just left are suffering stress and the ones I come home to will be lush green. Leyda and Alto Jahuel have an average rainfall from October to April of less than 50mm’s. The Fleurieu Peninsula has already had 310mm’s since October and accumulating and Piccadilly Valley has drained away 450mm’s in the same time frame.
Leyda accumulates about the same amount of heat in the growing season as Piccadilly and Fleurieu. Being just 12 kilometres fro the Pacific shore and the very cold Humbolt Current Leyda is a homo-clime of Burgundy as are the Fleurieu and Piccadilly and they all rank as some of the cooler viticultural regions of the globe, “old and new”.
Leyda Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are all wines of finesse and vibrant flavours and worth seeking out from the handful of producers. The flavours and structure of the wines are influenced by the very dry summers and are different from the wines of Piccadilly and Fleurieu.
Give me a choice of rain or no rain I will take the rain every time. The Chileans are in dread fear of vintage rain. That’s what makes fine wine fascinating.