Grown on a steep westerly facing slope of the Rufus Vineyard at about 360m above sea level on a rocky red ironstone and schist over clay. Quite a challenging vineyard site facing west, it receives the belting summer sun and often is exposed to characteristic winds of the Adelaide Hills. From the top of this vineyard in the distance, however, one can see Lake Alexandrina and the mouth of the Murray River, consequently receiving cooling evening breezes, which do much to preserve fruit acids and flavours through the critical weeks of ripening. Only 360 vines planted.
100% destemmed. The wine spent four weeks on skins with gentle hand plunging only before resting for 18 months in five-year-old French barrels.
Wild fermentation, no enzymes, oxidative handling pre-fermentation, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, gentle extraction, warmer fermentation, minimal temperature control. No fining. Estate bottled. Small amounts of sulphites added before bottling.
Across Australia, the 2012/2013 growing season was characterised by record-breaking heat and infrequent, scant rainfalls. Indeed, in the Eastern States – and even closer to home – many vineyards began irrigating in the late winter in anticipation of a devastatingly dry spring to come. In years such as this the Adelaide Hills’ typically higher precipitation and lower temperature stand us in good stead. Our minimally irrigated vines – with strong, healthy roots deeply embedded in the cooling soil – steadfastly withstood the drier weather and benefitted from the cooler nights. On the positive side, as well, there was essentially no disease pressure throughout the Hills leaving us and our vines only the vagaries of the climate to contend with. Good warmth toward the end of February and during harvest ensured excellent ripening in the final few weeks of the season. The upshot was a vintage with good yields, similar to our bumper 2010 crop levels although without the same evenness. Vigilance was required during this condensed, four-week harvest to ensure that fruit was picked at optimum maturity from the different parts of the vineyards. Wines from this vintage tend to be plush, well-rounded examples of their variety.