Vintage Reports en-us 2018 14426 2018-08-01 15:26:00 After a dry start to winter we had good rainfall, ending up 10% above the long term averages, flushing and filling soil profiles to saturation. Although a mid-September bud burst was later than recent vintages it was in line with long term averages. Spring rainfall was well below average, resulting in low disease pressure. Average day and night spring temperatures were close to record highs, resulting in steady vine shoot growth, catching up some ground after the later bud burst. A confined hail event in late October caused very minor damage to our small Kitchen Garden Mataro block but the Davey Estate vineyard was unaffected. Minor pitting of shoots in the Mataro healed quickly with no detriment to quality.

We had 10mm of rain on December 1st and another 15 mm on December 15th, freshening the vines during early berry development. With only 6 mm of rain in January and 5 mm in February summer rainfall ended up only two thirds of the average. Mean maximum and minimum summer temperatures were generally 1 to 2 degrees higher than average. The second half of January saw a record 13 consecutive days above 30 degrees Celsius resulting in a mean January temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius. Drier and warmer than average conditions continued through March and April resulting in a disease free and orderly progression to vintage, allowing time for the potential of each batch of grapes to be maximised in the winery.

Harvest started with Semillon on February 6th and our McLaren Vale white and rosÉ blocks were all off by February 19th when the first Davey Estate Shiraz was picked. Shiraz harvest, other than a small parcel for fortified, was completed on March 24th and Cabernet Sauvignon soon after on March 29th, just before Easter. Mataro, the last of the Grenache and Shiraz for fortification were harvested after Easter with all fruit in by April 5th.

The 2018 white and rosÉ wines are richly flavoured with good length. The reds are full bodied and deeply coloured, showing intense fruit flavour with big round chewy tannins. Simply an outstanding vintage with the promise to be rated as one of the great years for McLaren Vale.

2017 14425 2018-08-01 15:24:00 Healthy soaking winter rains continued through spring and into early summer setting up good canopies without the need of supplementary irrigation. Wet soils and a cool start to spring resulted in flowering being 3 weeks later than in the previous years. Good fruitfulness of the vines and higher bunch weights meant crop levels were generally above average. Careful canopy management and a timely stop to the rains in mid-January minimised disease pressure. A dry February through April along with generally mild weather followed by a warmer than average April allowed a long slow ripening period and an orderly progression to harvest.

Semillon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for RosÉ, mostly harvested around the first week of March, all showed vibrant cool climate flavours and structural minerality. A burst of heat gave the reds a push allowing us to start filling the fermenters towards mid-March. The early red fruit was perfumed and spicy with excellent length. As vintage progressed fruit weight increased and flavours moved into darker berry profiles. Our palette of Shiraz wines are spicy and aromatic with good concentration and length. Cabernets are very varietal with blackcurrant and leafy notes. The Shingleback harvest finished with Mataro picked after Easter on the 18th of April, timed nicely before rains that fell shortly after.

2016 7034 2016-05-27 11:40:00 Winter in 2015 was relatively dry and although totals ended up near normal rain events were spread out with few heavy soaking rains. The spring that followed was exceptionally dry resulting in low disease pressure but requiring early irrigation to ensure balanced vine canopies. October and December were hot and November warm and ideal for flowering and fruit set. Crop levels were the best for several years but generally just a return to more balanced and sustainable levels. An early bud burst and the dry warm conditions always meant vintage was going to be early. Even with bigger crops vintage started around the same time as the previous vintage’s record early start.

We picked Semillon from the Davey Estate Vineyards on the 29th of January and had completed our McLaren Vale Chardonnay by the 8th of February and Pinot Noir and Shiraz for RosÉ on the 10th of February. Timely rain events at the beginning of February refreshed the vines, greatly reducing the stresses of the dry season, with no adverse disease effects except for in some tighter bunch Grenache blocks. February days were mild and the nights cool, slowing down sugar accumulation and extending the ripening period’ greatly enhancing flavour, structure and colour development. Reds started with Shiraz on the 11th of February and the last of the Davey Estate Shiraz was picked on the 11th of March. The last of the Cabernet and the Mataro were picked prior to Easter on the 24th of March. The early picked wines show bright and fragrant fruit at balanced alcohol levels. Intensity, weight and depth of colour just kept increasing as the harvest progressed, without any over ripe characters, resulting in simply spectacular wines across all varieties.

2015 6318 2016-03-29 21:31:00 Average temperatures for August through November were significantly above average with September 1.2 degrees Celsius and October 3.7 degrees Celsius above the long term average. Not surprisingly bud burst was early and vines grew quickly and strongly setting up excellent pristinely clean canopies for the season. December and January were 0.8 and 1.7 degrees Celsius cooler than the long term mean allowing a steady development of bunches and ideal conditions for veraison and the development of the precursors that are the colour, tannin and flavour that we need to make great wine. The only significant rainfall in the growing season was 25 mm on the 13th of January and although this caused some initial apprehension it ended up just freshening the vines and focusing their energy on the bunches they were nursing. Less than 1 mm of rain fell after the 13th of January through to March and combined with warmer temperatures in February resulted in an organised but rapid harvest.

Earlier than usual supplementary irrigation was required with the prevailing dry conditions and was an important tool for the vineyard team to assist the vines through the occasional spike of heat. The prevailing dry conditions meant that the only spray protection the vines required was for powdery mildew (Odium). The Chardonnay harvest started on the 28th of January, a new record for the Davey Estate by at least a week. The first Shiraz pick was on the 12th of February and harvest was completed on the 12th of March with Mataro. Flavours and colours across the board were excellent and although sugars were higher than usual, good yeast management and some extra time in fermenters resulted in problem free fermentations.
The signals were clear right from the start and the Shingleback production team were ready and prepared for the early vintage resulting in a busy but reasonably stress free harvest. The excellent 2015 palette of wines that Dan and I have to work with is testament to the professionalism and hard work of all involved throughout the season.

2014 6317 2016-03-29 21:29:00 Harvest started early on February 5 with the McLaren Vale whites being completed before the rain on the 13th of February. McLaren Vale again proved why it is the most reliable wine grape district in the world with less than 50mm of rain falling at the Davey Estate, compared to more than 125mm north of Adelaide. Luckily the rain caused no damage and helped extend the ripening period. With the rain someone flicked the switch and turned off summer. The temperate dry autumn weather that followed was ideal allowing us to harvest as the fruit hit perfection. In the winery the longer than usual 6 week harvest window for reds allowed Dan to maximise the opportunities for extended ferments.

Vintage 2014 has turned out well after an admittedly nervous start, giving us a very diverse and bright palette to paint the pictures that are our wines.

2013 6313 2016-03-29 11:06:00 A little supplementary drip irrigation was needed from around the New Year to help the vines through the hotter weather and ensure the berries achieved the varietal flavours, ripe tannins and balanced acidity that are the precursors of good wine.

Harvest started with Semillon on the 11th of February and hot weather that followed ensured an early start to Shiraz a week later. Warm and dry conditions compressed the ideal harvest window and, due to the dedication of many, an orderly efficient intake occurred, meeting the challenge of capturing the essence of a great year in the vineyard. The last of the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, was picked on the 18th of March and with the early vintage both winery and vineyard teams had much of Easter off again!

The 2013 vintage was naturally disease free and has produced perfumed whites with attractive textures and deeply coloured ripe and structured reds.

2012 6312 2016-03-29 11:05:00 We picked our first white, Semillon, on February 8th and were well into Shiraz by late February. Sugar levels climbed quickly and in a very timely fashion nature delivered 60mm of rain on the last day of the month. Luckily, canopies dried quickly and there was no splitting. This resulted in the slowing down of the vintage and allowed us to achieve an ideal balance in the vineyard and to lavish the attention the exceptional fruit deserved in the winery. We finished harvest on March 20th with the exception of the last of the Cabernet and some Shiraz left out for fortified production.

2012 was an exceptional vintage for The Davey Estate and across McLaren Vale.

2011 6311 2016-03-29 11:04:00 Good winter rainfall refreshed the soil and delayed bud burst. Balanced and attentive hand pruning set up open canopies with the right crop levels for the cooler year that unfolded. Rain events meant that timely decisions and precise application of protective strategies were essential. I commend the Shingleback vineyard team for nailing every critical decision!
Clean healthy vineyards allowed us to be patient and let the cool summer and slow true ripening of the grapes work its magic on the flavours and tannins. The first Shiraz was picked on March 12th, just a few days after finishing the whites, and the last Cabernet picked on April 14th. A generally orderly intake at the winery allowed the full expression and depth of the fruit to be captured during fermentation. The result is ripe fragrant wines with structure and depth which will be exciting to craft into the Shingleback and Red Knot expressions of our vineyards.

2010 6310 2016-03-29 11:03:00 There was a week or so between finishing the Shiraz and starting on the Cabernet Sauvignon. The only rain to speak of conveniently fell over two days just after the Shiraz was picked and assisted the steady ripening and development of flavours and tannins in the Cabernet. 

The vintage was generally an easy one in the winery with time available to lavish attention on every batch. Ferments were clean and finished dry with wines quickly completing malolactic fermentation. Grenache yields were very low due to hot weather at flowering. Chardonnay crops were also down, whilst yields of the other varieties were around average. The unusual heat in November also had the positive effect of toughening the vines for the vintage to come. 

Across the board the wines of the 2010 vintage are full-bodied with opulent and luscious varietal flavours. A vintage to celebrate and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

2009 6309 2016-03-29 11:02:00 Soils held moderate moisture levels from winter in the lead up to the 2009 vintage. Some early irrigation was required to compensate for ongoing drought conditions. Vine canopies had moderate shoot growth with good internode spacing, negating any requirement for summer trimming. The vineyard was disease free and anticipated crop levels derived from bunch counts were below average. Berry set was variable throughout the district; generally resulting in open bunches with lower weights.

We had built up soil moisture levels in mid January to ensure the vines were not stressed during the critical period of veraison, when many of the important precursors for quality wine are formed in the berry. The vine canopies had also been carefully managed to provide some dappled shade to the fruit zone. When very hot weather was predicted our ability to provide supplementary drip irrigation rapidly to the vineyards, to further increase the availability of water and the speed with which the vines could take it up, allowed damage from the extremely hot conditions in late January to be minimized in the Shingleback vineyards. Fruit that was heat damaged shriveled and dried cleanly, reducing further the already low yields.

Harvest commenced with Chardonnay a week or two earlier than anticipated on the 4th of February. Sugar and acid levels at harvest were ideal as flavours developed early in the fruit. In our vineyards the heat also resulted in earlier flavour development in the reds and delayed sugar accumulation, which allowed an early start to the red harvest. Picking of Shiraz began on the 20th of February. The end result has been aromatic and balanced red wines, with fruit power and generally lower alcohol levels.

After the heat of late January & early February the weather was ideal allowing vines to recover and giving winemakers the luxury of little outside pressure. Lower yields also allowed extended time in fermenters on skins, as there was reduced demand on winery facilities. There was time for winemakers to maximize the potential of the fruit from the vineyard and to enjoy the crafting of the wines.

Picking of Grenache and the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon was completed in the last week of March. There were no yeast fermentation problems during the vintage and malolactic ferments were all but complete at the end of April, well ahead of schedule.

Every vineyard has its own story but ours in 2009 is extremely positive. Dedicated work from all members of the Shingleback team resulted in exceptional batches of wine that after maturation and blending will bring a smile to the lips they pass.