The 2017 vintage in Margaret River was supremely challenging yet ultimately rewarding. Spring was slow and cool, Summer was moderate with no heat spikes, and wet weather persisted throughout March, which led to much slower ripening and extended hang times. The season ended three weeks later than the average harvest time, significantly increasing the risks of disease in pockets of the region. The ‘Indian Summer’ at the end of the long season resulted for those that had held their nerve, in good tannin structure at much lower sugar levels compared with past vintages, and beautiful fruit perfumes.
Selected rows were hand-picked at first light. 40% of the perfect clusters were gently placed in the bottoms of our open fermenters, after which the rest of the fruit was destemmed and placed on top as whole berries. For the first 5 days of the fermentation each open fermenter underwent gentle pigéage 3 times a day, ensuring that the cap was only gently rearranged and that none of the clusters beneath were broken or disturbed, allowing each berry to undergo its own unique internal fermentation, thus adding multiple layers of complexity to the aromatic and textural foundation of the wine. Towards the end of the ferment the whole-clusters were gently broken with each pigéage to slowly release the sugar and aromatics into the wine. After a full 14 days on skin the wine was gently separated from the skins and transferred straight to oak to complete fermentation. It was then matured for 16 months in French oak puncheons, 40% of which were new, with bâttonage every 5 – 6 weeks.
Museum release available from the winery