Grapes were picked into crates and pre-chilled fruit to below 5°C for whole bunch pressing. Juice was settled and racked to barrels with some solids. No acid was added. The juice underwent wild yeast ferment, which lasted for 3 weeks and continued to dryness. All barrels were left on lees for 12 months and a quarter were inoculated for malolactic ferment. Lees stirring aided the extraction of the creamy, nutty yeast lees elements in the wine.
Excellent growing season with mild temperatures and few extremes of heat with 1250 Heat degree days (HDD) in total. Rainfall during the growing season was low with just 102 mm of rain from October to end February. An average season has 1270 Heat degree days and 200mm rain Oct to end February.
Harvest on 10th March was well before our average pick date of 3rd April. Harvest dates have been advancing rapidly over the last few years. Prior to 2007 we had never picked Chardonnay prior to the 19th March. Since 2007 we have harvested every year but one by the first two weeks of March. The culprit is warm spring temperatures which advances the milestones of the vine; early budburst, early flowering, etc. Long term average for Oct+Nov HDD is 279. Since 2007 the average HDD for Oct + Nov is 334. It is these warm spring temperatures which have made our harvests earlier. A return to more normal spring temperatures and have harvests late March early April each year is my desire but we are in the hands of outside forces.
Crop levels at 1.4kg per vine were well below our average of 2.1kg/vine.