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.