I can't recall being so excited about an impending vintage since this time last year! Well, ok, so I am an excitable kind of guy but it really does look good this year.
Fruit flavours are deep and intense, the low crop level is giving great concentration and the weather is ideal.
We begin on Tuesday 19th February with the 114 clone of Pinot Noir and a small parcel of our old vine Sauvignon Blanc. We will ten move into the Chardonnay and the MV6 Pinot Noir which should all be harvested before the hot weather predicted for the week beginning 25 February arrives.
That's important because it's a low acid year and this burst of hot weather will reduce acidity even further, meaning that acid additions would be necessary. The high temperatures will also cause the sugar levels to jump, resulting in high alcohols.
The only disappointment is some sunburn on exposed bunches on the western side of our rows, especially in the Chardonnay. With careful picking, we'll leave that all behind but it's frustrating just the same.
It only took one or two days over 40 C and given the low soil moisture, these western-facing bunches couldn't keep hydrated.
Otherwise, it will be a great harvest.
And I haven't even mentioned our Bordeaux varieties...they look superb although it's a few weeks before we get to them. The wine that I am most pleased with at the moment is our red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot) where we have had a run of great vintages.
This year will be no different.