It was an interesting vintage for us here at Brightwater.
The early summer months of November and December were hot and dry. The grass dried out and browned off and the council brought in watering restrictions. I don’t think they have done that prior to Christmas before. The grapes were flowering during this period of settled weather and almost every bunch had a perfect set.
After New Year the weather returned to its usual form with a mix of hot sunny days and the occasional rain. The effect of this was that the vines were carrying a full crop of grapes. We prefer a lighter crop. One that produces more concentration of flavour and has the acids, sugar and flavours all ripen at the same time. Hence we spent a lot more time than usual thinning bunches in our vineyards.
Harvest started early this year and with a rush. It seemed that everything was ripening at the same time. A very busy couple of weeks picking Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling then, by the start of April, just about everything had been picked. Another two weeks and it was all in the tanks. Fermenting nicely.
All of our picks were fermented in separate tanks and free run juice was fermented separate to pressings. We then selected which of the tanks use in making our Lord Rutherford wines. Naturally we had our expectations, based on how the grapes looked in the vineyard and what happened in previous years, but our trials are done completely blind and we usually surprise ourselves. This year the Lord Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc will be a blend of wine from 6 year old vines in our Railway block and free run from 18 year old vines in our Home block. The Lord Rutherford Pinot Gris will be from our trusted Olive Grove block.
We have now bottled some Sauvignon Blanc, Lord Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from 2011 and we all think the young wines are looking very promising indeed.