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Deakin Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton gives the rundown on vintage so far in Mildura, Victoria.
“In the lead up to vintage, Deakin Estate received similar rainfall amounts to recent years for the months of October to December but a drier September was experienced. Overall, the growing season was a dream, as we managed rain pressures on quality well. Like most of Australia, we experience very hot conditions in January which were managed by constantly monitoring and irrigating vines until the temperature decreased. Grapevine canopies gave just the right amount of shading to assist with ripening. We kicked off vintage on 23rd January, with a small parcel of Chardonnay for sparkling base. All sparkling wine grapes and the aromatic whites are now all harvested.
Early observations indicate promising flavour profiles developing in all white varieties, and colour development in the reds varieties is pleasing too.
At this stage I am predicting an uncomplicated harvest as long as weather conditions stay the same, let’s hope the dream start to the season continues.”
Meanwhile Katnook Coonawarra kicked off with an early vintage - check here for details.
It is with great sadness that Wingara Wine Group announces the sudden passing of our Katnook senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens on Sunday 05 November.
Wayne has been an institution on the Coonawarra winemaking scene for more than 38 years and his passion, skill and dedication to Katnook and the Coonawarra region in general were extraordinary.
Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his sudden death, making him one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.
In 1979 Wayne produced his first vintage and in 1980, he crafted Katnook’s first commercial quantities of wine. Wayne was then fresh from winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University when he was appointed winemaker at Katnook. He was already familiar with the property having worked alongside his father, Katnook General Manager Ray Stehbens, during his school holidays.
Foreshadowing the success that was to come, these first wines won 49 awards in their first year. In 1988 Wayne travelled to Graves, near Bordeaux in France, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the leading varieties. Here, he completed vintage and gained insights into these wine styles. Wayne was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities.
Over the course of his career Wayne received numerous awards and accolades. He won two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition. In the Langton’s Classification V, Odyssey receives a rating of ‘Outstanding’, Prodigy a classification of ‘Excellent’ and the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a rating of ‘Distinguished’.
Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as an significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.
Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry. Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis.
In 2013 Wayne celebrated 35 years of winemaking at Katnook and reflected on his career - read the interview here for an insight into Wayne and his winemaking at the time.
No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra - he will be sadly missed by so many.
La La Land Wines proudly announces the arrival of Rosé, delivered on the 23rd of October 2017 by a giant flamingo. Siblings Malbec, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo are delighted to welcome this alluring red head to their family.
La La Land Rosé 2017 was conceived saignée style about nine months ago, when our winemakers crushed some super tasty Victorian Pinot Noir. After a short time on skins, we kept the free run juice separate. A specially selected yeast kicked off a slow, cool ferment which captured natural juicy, strawberry flavours with a hint of fresh watermelon and toffee. Minimal intervention at birth achieved Rosé’s natural, expressive style. Pale and dry, we think Rosé is just beautiful. Check out her tasting notes here.
Rosé fits right in with friends at a picnic, at a game of croquet or at any other social gathering this summer. Retailing at $18 and available at independent retailers Australia wide, Rosé is vegan friendly. Serve chilled with antipasto platters, fresh seafood or a huge pan of paella. Alcohol is 12.5% with 5.7g/l acidity and less than 2g/l residual sugar.
ABOUT THE LA LA LAND FAMILY
La La Land adds a breath of fresh air to the sometimes-stuffy world of wine. An eclectic collection of new generation wines from family owned estate vineyards, La La Land wines are crafted from lesser known grape varieties, which thrive in the warm clime of north west Victoria.
La La Land wines are wines to explore - flavoursome and generous, made with creative flair and a touch of funk to challenge traditional conventions. La La Land is the official wine for the Jazz High Teas series at the Arts Centre Melbourne and is available at select retailers Australia wide.
Established – 2013 near Mildura.
Approximately 4 500 cases per year.
Wine Region – Victoria, Australia.
Winemakers – Frank Newman assisted by Aidan Menzies. Viticulturist – Craig Thornton.
Distributed by Red+White Australia wide. Tel. 1300 655 732.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne Australia had partnered with Deakin Estate wines in a move that will showcase Deakin Estate to a wider, culturally aware audience. Welcoming over 1.45 million visitors annually, ACMI is one of Melbourne’s biggest tourism drawcard and the most visited moving image museum in the world. It is dedicated to showcasing the best in film, TV, digital culture and art. Read about ACMI here.
As of September 2017, Deakin Estate is the Official Wine Partner, Member Events and will be served at VIP viewings and events. Deakin Estate wine is served by the glass in the ACMI café.
ACMI connects moving image makers and viewers in a vibrant space that embraces the future, understands the past and unlocks new types of creativity. Speaking of the partnership with ACMI, Deakin Estate’s director of marketing and sales, Sean Shortt said, “Just as Deakin Estate lies on the banks of Victoria’s Murray River, ACMI sits on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River - and offers an enriching experience that is readily accessible to a world-wide audience. This is a perfect fit for Deakin Estate wines.”
Famous for its cutting edge cinematic and museum offerings, recent ACMI exhibitions include David Bowie Is, Dressing Hollywood, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. ACMI board members include luminaries such as director Jan Chapman AO and actor Rachel Griffiths.
The most influential wine book in Australia, 'Halliday Wine Companion 2018' was released last night.
Again our wines did particularly well, with Katnook 2013 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon scoring 96 points, followed closely by Katnook Amara 2015 and Caledonian 2015 both with 95 points. READ ALL KATNOOK REVIEWS.
Deakin Estate and La La Land notched up "special value" mentions along with some terrific reviews. READ ALL DEAKIN, LA LA LAND AND AZAHARA REVIEWS.
Three Katnook Founder’s Block varietal reds from the 2015 vintage will be released this month. Harvested exclusively from Katnook’s proprietary vineyards, the Katnook Founder’s Block range captures the essence of Coonawarra and offers contemporary wines for everyday enjoyment.
The range is named after the original land holding of John Riddoch, the founder of Coonawarra wine region. In 1890, Riddoch set up headquarters of the newly formed Coonawarra Fruit Colony at his property ‘Katnook’. Here he made the region’s first commercial wine in his woolshed - now Katnook’s barrel room.
In 1980, winemaker Wayne Stehbens rekindled the property’s winemaking history, making the first Katnook Estate wines. In 2005, responding to evolving demands of wine drinkers, Stehbens created the singular fruit focussed Katnook Founder’s Block range, priced to entice a new audience.
Retailing at $20 a bottle, Katnook Founder’s Block 2015 Merlot, 2015 Shiraz and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon are all available at Dan Murphy’s and at selected independent retailers Australia wide.
The 2015 Vintage in Coonawarra began with a warm spring, advancing flowering by about two weeks. This promoted fast and even berry set, similar to other outstanding vintages such as 2004 and 2010. Dry conditions continued through to mid-January, when a welcome 90mm of rain fell. Summer days were warm and nights were cool, providing a long and cool ripening of the reds, which were harvested from late March until early April. All show bright fruit, good varietal definition, intense colour and strong tannins. Notes for each wine are below.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK MERLOT 2015. RRP $20
Harvest: Early to mid-April 2015
pH: 3.48 Acidity: 5.5g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for an average of two months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK SHIRAZ 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2016 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Hong Kong.
Harvest: 15 March - 02 April 2015
pH: 3.53 Acidity: 6.2g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: This wine was matured in a combination of older French and American oak barriques for three months.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2017 International Wine Challenge, UK.
Harvest: 08 - 17 April 2015
pH: 3.42 Acidity: 5.98g/L Alc/vol: 13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for four months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
Katnook Founder's Block Wines are distributed by:
Fesq and Company (NSW, VIC, QLD). Tel. 1300 763 377
Off the Vine Distributors (WA). Tel. 08 9418 8210
Muster Wines (SA). Tel. 0430 360 650.
Vintage 2017 is over for another year and looking promising at both Wingara sites.
Katnook Viticulturist Chris Brodie explains, “The cooler conditions resulted in budburst being delayed by up to three weeks, with flowering two weeks later. A warm summer followed, with a welcome spell of hot days in late January. We picked our first grapes on 3 March 2017, being Pinot Meuniere and Pinot Noir for sparkling. This was much later than usual. A cool growing season and above average rain leading into 2017 harvest saw a later start to vintage, typical of ten years ago.
Reg grape harvest started towards the end of March and continued to completion on 2nd May. Coonawarra has not had a vintage starting this late since the outstanding 2004 vintage.
The 2017 vintage saw white grapes with good varietal definition and the reds, even at lower sugar levels than recent vintages had excellent colour and concentrated fruit flavours.
April saw heavy rain towards the end of the month, and this, combined with above average yields, meant that not all fruit in Coonawarra was harvested. There are many parcels of high quality grapes for Katnook wines, with Shiraz a standout variety for 2017."
Mildura Viticulturist Craig Thorton (Deakin Estate, La La Land, Azahara ) says, “Our region experienced cold nights right up until Christmas 2016, when the temperatures rose to what we normally expect over summer, followed by cooler weather. Harvest therefore was slow to progress and at any stage was about four weeks behind normal. Usually we would have started harvest by late January, however this year, it was early February.
We had good healthy full bunch crops, with great fruit freshness considering the late pick date. We began harvest with base varieties required for Sparkling and some early ripening Pinot Gris.
We had a very hot week in mid-February with 5 days over 40 degrees Celsius. We had another hot week in the high 30 degrees Celsius during the first week in March which helped with fruit ripening. Weather then become cold at nights until we finished harvest in March.
I was particularly excited by the quality of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard. Overall, 2017 was a late but rewarding vintage.”
Mildura winemaker Frank Newman reports, “Harvest proceeded slowly this year. As of the second week of March we had crushed just 2000 tonne - five weeks behind last year. A cooler, wetter spring slowed ripening to a marked degree and, as with Coonawarra, this season seems more like those experienced 10-15 years ago.
Sparkling bases are showing refined flavours with a crisp palate. These bases will be spread over seven consecutive years of sparkling so that we maintain our “solera” integrity (our sparkling wines are always non-vintage because we want them to have youthful freshness but also depth of character from careful ageing of the base wines).
We harvested Pinot Gris at two different maturity levels to develop the styles that we sell - early picked for Pinot Grigio and the riper intake for Pinot Gris. Both began fermentation spontaneously with indigenous yeast while finishing with a selected yeast strain to improve mouthfeel.
Vermentino is looking exciting, with a touch of oak to balance the palate. Chardonnay has a hint of malolactic fermentation and an approachable mid weight palate. The reds are showing great colour and flavour intensity.
Overall we harvested around 17% less than 2016, due to harvest conditions. I am upbeat about the final, overall wine quality."
Katnook winemaker, Wayne Stehbens reports, "Overall 2017 was slightly warmer than average, as were yields. Despite some heavy mid-vintage rain, my expectations are for a very good vintage.
Harvest began with Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. Riesling and Chardonnay followed in mid-March. Overall, the whites are showing forward fruit and good acid balance.
Red grapes came in later than usual, starting in late March and finishing 02 May. We chose to leave some fruit on the vines due to the heavy rains in late April, meaning we did not compromise on quality. Cabernet at this early stage is deep in colour with elegant fruit flavours and medium body. Shiraz is exceptional, intense, spicy flavours and good palate structure. "
Deakin Estate’s family owned vineyards lie near Mildura in north west Victoria, Australia. Here, the mighty Murray River weaves across the land, bringing life to the region. As one of the world’s longest navigable rivers, the Murray stretches for 2,500 kilometres, bordered by a tapestry of quintessential Australian flora, including magnificent gum trees. For over 40,000 years, this river sustained the region’s traditional owners, the Latje Latje people, whose deep connection to the land centres around the timeless Murray – now central to Deakin Estate’s unique terroir.
Deakin’s new River to Vine labels pay homage to the magnificent Murray and the role it plays in delivering exceptional, estate grown fruit to our winemakers. Deakin Estate enjoys full control over every aspect of production, from proprietary vineyards through to final wines - giving consistency, vintage after vintage. For consumers looking for a wine they can always trust for quality and affordability, these fresh labels, designed by Melbourne’s Beetle Creative, evoke a sense of place.
The Murray River’s irrigation system was set up in 1887 by the Chaffey Brothers. Water availability accelerated agricultural expansion around the Murray Darling region, in which Deakin Estate was established in 1967. Today, Deakin’s viticulturist Craig Thornton is highly regarded for his meticulous irrigation trials in conjunction with research bodies such as the CSIRO, ensuring Deakin is at the forefront of regional viticulture. Craig says, “My approach is to create a balanced vine canopy. Irrigation is our main tool in achieving this, as it is something we can manage each year to complement our warm, dry climate. We create the right vine architecture to manage cropping levels, while capturing the best possible flavours.”
Deakin Estate wines are available Australia wide and in major export markets, as are other leading brands nurtured by the Murray, such as William Downie and Chalmers. One of the world’s leading wine writers, Jancis Robinson MW recently commented that collectively, such operators are “busy proving that good wines can come out of the irrigated inland wine regions that depend for their existence on the lazy Murray River.” (www.jancisrobinson.com/ 28/4/2017).
Australian distributors Red+White. Tel. 1300 763 377. International distributors
Deakin Estate Fast Facts
Location: Red Cliffs near Mildura, Victoria.
Wine Region: Murray Darling, Victoria.
Size: 217 hectares of vineyards and orchards.
Winery Capacity: 400,000 cases.
Winemakers: Frank Newman, Aidan Menzies.
Viticulturist: Craig Thornton.
Soils: Rich, fertile calcareous earth, ranging from brown to red sandy loam.
Climate: Mediterranean. Warm and sunny.
Max. average temperature: 23.6 degrees Celsius.
Altitude: 50-70 metres (180-229 feet)
Mean number of clear days per year: 143.2
Mean annual Rainfall: 268.1mm
Vintage 2017 is almost complete for Australia’s Deakin Estate, Murray Darling and Katnook Estate, Coonawarra. Throughout Australia, harvest was generally later than usual and at this early stage, quality is looking exceptional for both Deakin and Katnook according to winemakers.
Deakin Estate’s winemaker, Frank Newman reports, “We finished harvest just after Easter by picking Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec – this is exceptionally late compared to the last few years. The warm harvest period in 2016 increased the fruitfulness of the vines and delaying maturity in 2017. Combined with a relatively cool spring and summer, fruit development has been held back meaning an extended ripening period.
This season’s wines are showing more elegance than the “big” wines of last year. Colours in the red are looking good as are the aromas and flavours. The body of these wines will be more refined than 2016. This will also be the case for our white wines, which are showing less tropical aromas and flavours than normal and more flora fragrant bouquets.
This will mean that our oaked wine styles will have less time in oak this year, so that fruit characters can be highlighted. Non oaked whites like Sauvignon Blanc are showing characteristic floral aromas with light delicate palate weight structures. Again one of the shining lights will be Viognier, aromatic and flavoursome with a little texture on the palate – it is one of the wines we enjoy making the most. It has indeed been a terrific vintage.”
Katnook is located some 500 kilometres south of Deakin Estate in the cooler Coonawarra district. Katnook winemaker, Wayne Stehbens is happy with the 2017 season. He says, “The season to date has been cooler and wetter than last year, reminiscent of vintages 10-15 years ago. We commenced harvest on the 2nd March 2017 two weeks later than last year by picking Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (both for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. This was followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay in mid-March. Fruit flavours and natural acid balance are pleasing across our white wines.
The weather by early April was drier and slightly warmer than average, which was ideal for harvest of our Merlot, Shiraz and later, Cabernet Sauvignon. Picking should conclude in early May and initial assessments show that our red wines will be exceptionally elegant with rich flavours and gentle tannins.”
Katnook Coonawarra is one the few wineries with three or more listings in the Langton’s Classification of Australian wine. This month, Katnook releases its flagship wines, Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon and Prodigy Shiraz from the outstanding 2012 vintage as well as Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Under the Langton’s Classification IV, Odyssey is rated ‘Outstanding’ while Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet sit in the ‘ Excellent’ category.
Katnook Winemaker Wayne Stehbens says the 2012 Coonawarra vintage, “is now considered to be one of the finest for Coonawarra. It was a very early, warm, dry, low yielding vintage which led to intense fruit aromas, great depth of flavours and fine tannins for both Odyssey Cabernet and Prodigy Shiraz.”
Katnook Prodigy Shiraz 2012. RRP $100.
Prodigy is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
The first Prodigy vintage was in 1997 from young vines and won the Jimmy Watson trophy, Melbourne Wine Show 1998. The 2012 is the 13th release.
Prodigy is crafted from small parcels of grapes harvested from sites that have consistently produced fruit of outstanding depth of fruit flavour, excellent colour and firm tannin structure.
James Halliday rated this wine 96 points saying, " Prodigy marches to the tune of its own drum, and practice has long since made perfect. Despite all the winemaking and time spent in oak, it has retained balance, emerging at the end of the process as elegant, the tannins supple, the wine fresh.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Shiraz
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 20th – 22nd March 2012
Analyses pH 3.39, Acidity 6.1g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 10 to 15 years
Oak maturation 25 months in 225L barriques in new and 2 year old French, as well as new American oak.
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Prodigy Shiraz style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz, first made in 1997 by senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens, comprises select parcels of the best fruit from the estate’s 26 hectares of mature Shiraz vineyards. The vines, established in the mid-1990s and planted at 1.5 metre intervals in rows two metres apart, are anchored in classic terra rossa soils over limestone and transitional dark clays. Low crop yields are achieved by precise canopy management, hand-pruning, bunch-thinning and shoot-removal. Organic principles are increasingly followed. The wine is small-batch vinified in open fermenters, basket-pressed and then matured in new (up to 100%) French and American oak barriques for 24 - 28 months. Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz typically shows intense raspberry and plum aromas, generous, pure-fruit flavours and underlying liquorice spice with finely-grained tannins and plenty of flavour length.
Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. RRP $100.
Odyssey is one of 52 wines listed in the ‘Outstanding’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
First vintage was in 1991. Accolades include the Frescobaldi Trophy and Best Australian Red at the 2003 International Wine and Spirit Competition for the 1998 vintage.
Rated 95 points by James Halliday, who described it as “Hyper-intense, full-bodied cabernet varietal fruit is beyond the normal Odyssey style, but none the worse (indeed better) for that; blackcurrant and bay leaf, plus notes of tar, race along the palate, barely checking their momentum on the finish and aftertaste. Drink by 2037.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 8th – 13th April 2012
Analyses pH 3.4, Acidity 6.99g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 15 to 18 years
Oak maturation 13 months in 50% French (10% new) and 50% older American oak barriques
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Odyssey style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
The concentrated and powerful Odyssey is selected from the most outstanding parcels of intense Cabernet fruit from specific vineyard rows planted on rich, clay, terra rossa loams over a thick, hard layer of limestone. After vinification in small-batch fermenters, maturation takes place over 30 to 40 months in a combination of new French and American barriques. Some parcels are ‘double-oaked’ to increase flavour complexity. The maturation regime is intuitive to the character of the vintage. Stehbens describes the overall style as ‘a wine with ripe, rich fruit combined with complex oak and barrel-matured flavours’. This highly-prized Coonawarra wine is a benchmark style with beautifully intense, pure, blackcurrant aromas, mocha oak complexity, superb volume and dense, chocolaty tannins. The Odyssey verges on the ‘essence-of-Coonawarra’ style yet manages to achieve remarkable balance and minerality.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. RRP $40.
Stehbens describes the 2013 vintage as “One of the earliest starts and finishes on record - slightly warmer than normal, very dry but without the extreme heat experienced in many other parts of Australia. From a grape ripening view point that was ideal. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the stars.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
Winner of 4 silver medals at leading international wine competitions.
Sarah Ahmed, Decanter Magazine (UK), September 2016 gave this wine 93 points, describing it as ‘Heady with a rich burnish of charry, spicy oak to its cassis and juicier mulberry and blackberry. Long, with ripe but textural gravelly tannins. Drink: 2016-2028.’
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed this wine style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
‘The wine is matured in new (30-40%) and seasoned French oak for 22 to 24 months. Varietal definition and regional expression are captured through meticulous selection of vineyard components, instinctive use of oak maturation and skilful blending. The wine typically shows intense blackcurrant and mulberry aromas, generous pure-fruit flavours, finely-grained tannins, underlying mocha notes, plenty of flavour length and great aging potential.’
Availability. Selected Dan Murphy’s and Vintage Cellars Australia wide stock Odyssey, Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Distribution. Australian distributors for Katnook wines are:
NSW, VIC, QLD Fesq and Co. Tel. 1300 763 377.
SA Muster Wine Co. Tel. 0430 360 650.
WA Off the Vine. Tel. 08 9418 8210.
Vintage 2017 is off to a late start for Wingara's two wineries. Here is the latest from our winemakers and viticulturists.
VINTAGE UPDATE, 6th March 2017
Katnook Coonawarra, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
Viticulturist, Chris Brodie. The season to date has been cooler and wetter than last year, reminiscent of vintages 10-15 years ago. Compared to last vintage we are also much later, therefore the acid balance should be excellent in the final wines. There have been no significant impediments such as prolonged heatwaves, rain, frost etc. So, looking forward to some terrific fruit quality.
Winemaker, Wayne Stehbens. Compared to recent vintage starts, Katnook is around 2 weeks later than usual. We commenced harvest on the 2nd March 2017 by picking Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (both for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. This week we will finish Sauvignon Blanc and make a start on the Riesling, followed by Chardonnay in mid-March.
I expect the harvest for red grapes will start late March.
The long-term weather forecasts are for drier than average temperatures being only slightly above average. Unless this forecast changes dramatically, my expectations are for a very good to excellent vintage.
Mildura VICTORIA. Home to Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara.
Viticulturist, Craig Thorton. We experienced cold nights right up to Christmas when the temperatures rose to what we normally expect over Summer followed by cooler weather. Harvest therefore has been slow to progress. Typically, we would have picked all the sparkling and much of the Sauvignon Blanc by now. So, we are 4 weeks behind normal. As a guide to a general start date we have in most years started picking by 20th January and experience ripe harvestable fruit by just after Christmas. We are seeing good healthy full bunch crops, with great fruit freshness considering the late pick date. We have harvested much of the base varieties required for Sparkling and some early ripening Pinot Gris.
Weather is starting to become cold overnight as expected for this time of the year. We had a very hot week in mid-February with 5 days over 40 degrees C. We have another hot week in this the first week of March, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees C, which will help with fruit ripening. Tempranillo and other varieties are looking great.
Winemaker, Frank Newman. Harvest is proceeding at a snail’s pace. We have crushed barely 2000 tonne which is something like 5 weeks behind last year. A cooler, wetter spring has slowed ripening to a marked degree and, as with Coonawarra, this season seems more like those experienced 10-15 years ago. Slow ripening augers well for quality but it is too early to make a call on the final rating of vintage quality.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling base are harvested as is around 20% of the total Sauvignon Blanc harvest. The sparkling bases are showing refined flavours with a crisp palate that we want for our sparkling wines. It should be borne in mind that these bases will be spread over 7 consecutive years of sparkling so that we maintain our “solera” integrity (our sparkling wines are always non-vintage because we want them to have youthful freshness but also depth of character from careful ageing of the base wines) The first parcel of Sauvignon Blanc has captured the green/grassy notes that will form the backbone to the final wine. The next intake of this variety will supply the floral and fruity elements that characterize our style.
We have harvested our Pinot Gris at two different maturity levels to develop the styles that we sell - early picked for Pinot Grigio and the riper intake for Pinot Gris. Both have been allowed to begin ferment spontaneously with indigenous yeast for that extra little complexity on the nose, however fermentation will be complete with a selected strain of yeast that provides mouthfeel and weight.
Within a week of this report, Chardonnay for still table wine should have been harvested. If the Chardonnay that we have processed for our private clients is any indication they should be absolute crackers.
I predict this first week of March will see more suitable harvest opportunities, since we are looking at a prolonged period of temperatures - ideal for fruit ripening. There is a chance that some isolated parcels of red will be picked before mid-March.
Wingara's premium brand, Katnook Coonawarra, is running an ongoing social media competition, designed to reward loyal customers who "Share the Love". Every 2 months, the most creative post featuring Katnook wine, cellar door or events will win a wine pack.
The competition is as easy as 1.2.3.
See here for terms and conditions.
FIRST WINNER was selected in November 2016. We congratulated Wilma Brbot on this beautiful image.
The Wingara Wine Group presents three sparkling wines from its portfolio in the lead up to the Festive Season and Australian summer holidays. Owned by the world’s largest producer of traditional method sparkling wines, Freixenet Spain, the Wingara Wine Group distributes a diverse range of sparkling wine styles across most price points.
These sparkling wines are made by our Australian winemaker, Wayne Stehbens of Katnook Coonawarra – as well as Spanish winemaker Gabriel Suberviola of Segura Viudas, Penedes. All three wines are currently available Australia wide in selected retail stores.
Katnook Founder’s Block Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV. RRP $23
Sourced entirely from Katnook’s Coonawarra vineyards, the base wine is 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir blend which is partially matured in older oak to add complexity. The wine undergoes the Charmat process. The wine shows sweet pear, quince and caramel flavours, accompanied by a fine mousse and crisp acid finish.
Total Acidity 6.7 g/l
Dosage 10 g/l
SEGURA VIUDAS is located near Torrelavit in the Penedes region, just outside Barcelona, Spain. By definition, Cava must be made using methode traditionelle – the same exacting method that is used to make Champagne.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva. RRP $15
Fruitiness, freshness and complexity are the three defining characteristics of this wine, which aims to offer exceptional value. The base wine is a blend of 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel-lo. After primary fermentation, the wine is held on yeast lees for 3 months to allow nutty yeast autolysis flavours to permeate. By law, reserva cavas such as this wine, must be in contact with yeast lees for a minimum of 15 months.
Total Acidity 3.95g/l
Dosage 9 g/l
Ageing on less Minimum 15 months.
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad D.O. Cava. RRP $50
This wine represents the pinnacle of Segura Viudas’ wine styles, with the focus on elegance. Comprising 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada, only the first 50% of juice pressed is fermented. The final blend is made up of 9 different wines and all riddling is done by hand.
This special occasion wine is presented in a pewter clad bottle, the design of which is based on an 11th century original. Empty bottles are used as water or salad dressing bottles – or as vases and candle holders, making the wine a popular gift.
Total Acidity 4g/l
Ageing on less Minimum 30 months.