12 Mar 2011

Up early and out to sample in the vineyard, I was taken aback (again) by the beauty of the scene. 
On a more practical note, my purpose was to assess the flavour development in the early-ripening varieties, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The mild weather this year has delayed ripening by at least three weeks compared to last year but finally the fruit is nearly ready. 
In the Chardonnay we can see the citrus "lemonade" fruit characters we seek. The MV6 clone Pinot Noir is very expressive with a delightful musky overtone and the Sauvignon Blanc is just starting to show all the gooseberry and passionfruit flavour that we liked so much in the 2010.
Fume Blanc.
We'll give these blocks one more week of ripening and commence picking on Monday 21 March. To put that into perspective, by this time last year we had harvested all blocks except for the young vine Cabernet Sauvignon.
One of the hazards of wandering down the vine rows is being entangled in spider webs. These webs, usually spun by St Andrews Cross spiders, can be quite large and often very sticky. The spiders are harmless (or so I have been told) and they do catch plenty of insects.

 With gaze focused on the grapes, it is easy to get caught up in these wonderfully-constructed webs. Not a bad price to pay though for such tranquility and beauty.