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So far Michael Major has created 22 blog entries.

Vintage 2014

We have been making wine here for 30 years and I haven’t seen an average year yet.

Another roller-coaster season with the warmest October ever to start the growing season (average temp 18 deg C vs average of 13.1 deg C) followed by an unseasonally cool November which upset flowering in Chardonnay and Pinot. This caused very poor fruit set in Chardonnay and Pinot. Thankfully the Sauvignon flowered after the cool weather and set normally.

Unprecedented numbers of very hot days in Jan and early Feb thankfully pre veraison where flavour impact is minimal. Our dryland vines with their deep roots sailed through the heat unaffected.

Then rain. We had 130mm of rain on the 13th and 14th of February which caused some splitting in the small berries of Chardonnay and Pinot followed by mould. The result is a write-off of Chardonnay and Pinot.

Thanks goodness we have just bottled our beautiful 2013 Chardonnay and Pinot so we will have supplies.

All through this the Sauvignon was fine. An average crop which had veraison (the start of ripening when the berries soften) post heat and rain. This fruit matured well and we picked over 3 days from the13th to the 15th of March.

We will make a Ferus this year. Our 2013 Ferus was bottled in February after its year on lees in old barrels and it is looking taught and fine. One for the long haul.

And the Riesling. Well I just don’t think 2014 is a year for us with Riesling. As I speak the grapes are out in another 30mm of rain and the small crop has suffered. So we’ll leave it on the vine, lick our financial woulds and wait for 2015 and have another go.

The 2013 Riesling has just received 96 points from James Halliday and I must say its a cracker. It is our best Riesling yet I think. So fine and delicate, hauntingly perfumed with a tight savoury finesse on the palate.
So thats it. A tough growing season with some lovely Sauvignon but no Chardonnay, Pinot or Riesling to show for it.

17 March 2014|

Vintage 2013

Really good vintage. Average crops of fully ripe grapes with lovely fine flavours. Bottling Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling next week.

Chardonnay and Pinot quietly resting in oak as well as our first Ferus wild yeast Sauvignon since 2009. Harvest was again earlier than normal. Our “normal” is now early March. No doubt there is a trend in ealier harvests for us. The season was kind with no real heat waves post veraison which is the critical time.

We continue to receive glowing reviews.
James Halliday’s Top South Australian Wines May 2013
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Pale straw-green; year in year out, one of the most elegant (and most reliable) sauvignon blancs on the market; kiwi fruit, citrus and dab of white peach drive the fragrant bouquet and fresh palate., the finish dry and almost savoury. Prior history shows the wine does not have to be consumed immediately. 12.5%alc 95 points

James Halliday’s Wine Companion June-July 2013
2000 Lenswood Cabernet-Merlot
Estate-grown, and spent 24 months in French oak; the decision to keep part of the make for extended bottle age, and thus a museum release, has been fully justified. This is a rare opportunity to buy a fully mature wine direct from the cellar of the maker. All the components of dark berry fruits, oak and tannins have joined seamlessly and harmoniously. There will, I suppose, be some bottle variation, but it is hard to imagine a more perfect bottle than this one. 13.5% alc 96 points

30 May 2013|

May 30th 2013

Really good vintage. Average crops of fully ripe grapes with lovely fine flavours. Bottling Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling next week.

Chardonnay and Pinot quietly resting in oak as well as our first Ferus wild yeast Sauvignon since 2009. Harvest was again earlier than normal. Our “normal” is now early March. No doubt there is a trend in ealier harvests for us. The season was kind with no real heat waves post veraison which is the critical time.

We continue to receive glowing reviews.

James Halliday’s Top South Australian Wines May 2013

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Pale straw-green; year in year out, one of the most elegant (and most reliable) sauvignon blancs on the market; kiwi fruit, citrus and dab of white peach drive the fragrant bouquet and fresh palate., the finish dry and almost savoury. Prior history shows the wine does not have to be consumed immediately. 12.5%alc 95 points

James Halliday’s Wine Companion June-July 2013

2000 Lenswood Cabernet-Merlot

Estate-grown, and spent 24 months in French oak; the decision to keep part of the make for extended bottle age, and thus a museum release, has been fully justified. This is a rare opportunity to buy a fully mature wine direct from the cellar of the maker. All the components of dark berry fruits, oak and tannins have joined seamlessly and harmoniously. There will, I suppose, be some bottle variation, but it is hard to imagine a more perfect bottle than this one. 13.5% alc 96 points

30 May 2013|

February 2013

Lots happening. Our grapes are almost all through veraison (the start of ripening when the reds colour and the white grapes soften) and so we are about 40 days from harvest subject to the weather. Crop levels are about average at 2.5kg/vine (7 tonnes/ha) and the vineyard is a picture.

Yesterday we bottled our 2012 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines and I am delighted with them. As with all our wines they are at least a year from being anywhere near their best but the concentration, balance, finesse and complexity are all there. Both just on 12% alcohol which I love. The heavy whack of alcoholic wines is so often overbearing. The 2012 wines all had high natural acid levels which means fine crisp savoury wines that compliment food rather than compete.

The 2012 Sauvignon is almost gone now but it is now in the full bloom of its youth. All wines need at least 6 months to grow out of their adolescent awkwardness and it is now the fine fragance and depth can be seen all against the background of the crisp natural acid.

8 February 2013|

May 2012

Our 2012 Sauvignon and Riesling wines now being prepared for bottling and looking fresh and taught with beautiful flavours. I am really happy with them both. Bottling mid May and then we wait for them to settle down and show their potential.

Chardonnay and Pinot quietly going through malolactic ferment also slowly building flavour. We’ll bottle these next year after 12 months in oak on lees. Fine wine takes time.

Some excellent reviews in the latest James Halliday’s Wine Companion (June-July 2012) for two of our 2010 wines.

2010 Chardonnay

Bright green-straw, wild yeast fermented in French oak, malolactic fermentation and lees contact have given the extra complexity and texture sought by Geoff Weaver, but have also left the vibrant fruit and natural acidity in charge. The finish very long. 95 points

Under the heading “worth another look”

2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Pale straw-green; the bouquet has the fragrance absent from many ‘10s, and the palate has exceptional intensity and drive, with a totally seductive mix of passionfruit, citrus and gooseberry; cleansing acidity completes a classy package, well able to take on the might of Marlborough. 95 points

2 May 2012|

March 2012

An early but succesful vintage. A mild summer with few extreme temperatures really helped the vines. Crops were tiny in Pinot, Chardonnay and Riesling (less than 1kg per vine) and still less than 2 kg per vine in Sauv blanc. The sugars, flavous, acids and concentration was excellent and we look forward to some lovely wines.

A glowing review from Jeremy Oliver in his annual wine book of our 2010 Chardonnay.

A joyful, delightfully fruit-driven Chardonnay with pristine freshness,length and elegance. Deep aromas of nectarine and peach knit tightly with nutty, dusty and spicy oak, with undertones of creamy yeast, cloves, cinnamon and faint smokiness. It’s long and concentrated, with penetrative flavour of grapefruit, melon, pineapple and stonefruit tightly integrated with fresh oak and finishing with crunchy acids and excellent length.

94 points Jeremy Oliver

20 March 2012|

January 2012

So far so good for the 2012 growing season. Slightly warmer than average with modest crop levels promises an eary harvest in March.

We must pray we avoid the devestating rains of Feb and March last year which made things so difficult.

Mild sunny calm days are what we need now. All those in viticulture are at the mercy of the weather but with a successful harvest in each of our 27 vintages we consider ourselves fortunate.

Our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc has been well received with glowing reviews and inclusion

by Tony Love in his Top 100 wines.

AUSTRALIA’S TOP 100 WINES 2011Tony Love

November 2011

This wine shows its cooler seasonal influenceswith a delicate style rather than the overt grassy-plus-passion fruit and tropical power lift in many imported versions. Here we’re more about crunchy pear aromas, lemon sherbet flavour, great balance and a beautifully dry finish. More please.

94 points

29 January 2012|

July 2011 Australia's Finest Sauvignon

Wonderful reviews and recognition from James Halliday today in his newly released 2012 Wine Comanion.

His list of Australias finest Sauvignon Blanc wines lists us as number 1 with our Ferus and again at number 6 with our 2010 Sauvignon.

The comments note particularly the structure of fine Australian Sauvignon Blanc and this is what we aspire to make; serious wines of depth, complexity and texture, built to age and accompany food. It is my view that fine Sauvignon, unlike the unfortunate stereotype, can meet the standards of all fine wines. The reputation is sullied by those thin weedy or rank wines but Sauvignon does not need to be like this.

The key for me is that the grapes are grown conservatively on low vigour soils in a cool climate then followed with sensitive winemaking.

We are delighted to have our wines recognised in this way.

28 July 2011|

July 2011

In the face of nature we are powerless. The 2011 vintage was our most challenging in our 28 vintage history at Lenswood. A cool, wet spring and summer made things difficult but the vines sailed through with no problems. Then in March we had 150mm of rain only a week before harvest.

Botrytis mould was there and flourished in the mild, wet conditions. I have always had faith in low crops, mature low vigour vines with plenty of air movement through the canopy but even this wasn’t enough to save us given the rain and extended drizzly weather which lasted for many days.

The good news is that with careful selction of the bunches to pich and then removal of all botrytis berries we were able to salvage some beautiful fruit.

Our 2011 Sauvignon blanc is our lowest in terms of alcohol (11.5%) and had a wonderful fresh acidity and pungent but still delicate fruit. I am thrilled with the result given how difficult it was to achieve.

Sadly no Pinot, Chardonnay or Riesling but that is life. We have had so many good years this was bound to happen at some point. It is the way it is working in the natural world.

4 July 2011|

November 2010

November 2010

At last a “normal” season. Budburst in October, flowering in early December and (hopefully) picking next year in late March or early April. As a grower we all run the gauntlett of the weather and late March is a much safer time to be ripening. The vineyard has never looked better and the flowering is about to begin. Much cooler and therefore later start to the growing season than the last 2 years and a return to near average rainfall and temperatures.

The Tony Love and James Halliday endorsements of our wines are most gratifying. Our styles are always understated and to have them recoginsed for excellence is most pleasing. It can be as an opera singer at a rock concert for fine wine producers. The reviews are below

The Advertiser AUSTRALIA’S TOP 100 WINES 2010

Tony Love November 2010

Geoff Weaver Lenswood Sauvignon Blanc 2010 94 points

One of the Hill’s most respected artisans has crafted a wine that’s a million miles from the variety’s usual Kiwi pungency. Cool climate Lenswood fruit offers a delicate waft of florals, teasing herbal tastes and captivating minerally mouthfeel that drives the palate for ever. So moreish.

James Halliday’s Top 100 The Weekend Australian Nov 2010

Geoff Weaver Lenswood Ferus Sauvignon Blanc 2009 96 points

This is “the other” Weaver sauvignon blanc, wild fermented in French oak barriques and given 12 months lees contact. No acid was added nor was the wine fined. A striking contrast to all other Australian sauvignon blancs that delivers great complexity and equally great intensity. It also has greater longevity than other sauvignon blancs.

26 November 2010|