Archive for June, 2011

Winter in the Vines

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

Morning dew

At She-Oak Hill we opt for labor intensive cane pruning of our vines to ensure balance and flavour enhancement of our wine. For the first time in 36 years Laurie has agreed to some assistance with the pruning. We have worked quite quickly through the old block and been blessed with reasonable weather conditions. The mornings can be cold and frosty but the dew on the wires and spider webs sparkled like diamonds last weekend as we worked to wrap the new canes down on the wires. Despite the hours pruning requires there is always time in the evening to enjoy the company of friends and some wonderful meals. On Saturday Russell’s lamb shanks and a beautifully balanced 2004 Passing Clouds were a true highlight.

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Do you want tears with your wine?

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Vineyard

The 2011 vintage began with such promise. Full dams, spring rain and encouragingly vigorous growth of the vines. For the first time in years rainfall was not going to be an issue! How wrong can you be.
The rain kept coming, in January and February and March. After each downpour with its accompanying humidity it seemed pointless to compete with the cruel irony of nature. Ten years of drought then this! The growth on the vines was excessive, shading the fruit and creating hot, steamy conditions within the canopy. We worked for days reducing it and then it rained again, damaging leaves with late season mildew, so many fell off unassisted.
If not for the patience and support of our wine maker, Mark, I would have walked away from it like so many vignerons were forced to do this year. But with Mark’s encouragement we hung in there and on the Thursday before Easter – probably D Day for the season, in damp, cool and foggy conditions we picked a vintage that was surprisingly flavour ripe and with a very acceptable baume of 13.5.
So the tears have dried up and we look forward to reviewing the vintage from the barrels over the coming months. In fact the long, even ripening period will potentially produce an elegant, lower alcohol wine with characteristics truly reflecting the season. There I go again – there is always a silver lining.

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