2019's and 2020

I’ve been pretty bad at communicating where things are at, so here’s a quick update on the ’19 vintage, what’s coming for ’20, and other things.

2019’s are still maturing in barrel. At this point, I don’t really do much more than top up barrels (due to evaporation, and to avoid oxidation). As usual, less is more, and this is the time for me to stay out of it and trust in healthy wine to stay healthy.

2020 will be an exciting year. And I’ve got to be honest, once ferments are done, my mind heavily shifts to the next year. This year will be the first year dealing with fruit from new sites… I don’t like jumping around from one vineyard to another, but at this point it’s a necessity for good fruit. This is my first year working with a new 50 year old Cabernet vineyard in Seville, I don’t know that any good wine has ever been made from it but I think it can be done. I’m a little hesitant as I’m not particularly used to dealing with vines on soil that’s this fertile, and these vines keep wanting to grow a ridiculous canopy, but we see. Like anything, embrace the site for it’s uniqueness, keep everything healthy, and yields low… go from there. That’s a bit oversimplified, but it was most of my logic in going into it.

I’ll be taking a couple of tonnes of Fiano from a site in Heathcote… first time going out of the Yarra. I honestly just want to play. I’ve got a lot of ideas on yeast, air exchange and maturation that I want to trial and this will let me do that.

Taking a tonne or two of Sangiovese from Brumfield Winery too, for a cheeky Yarra Valley rosato. Making a good rose should be very challenging, and there aren’t many good examples out there. If you’re leaving colour behind, you are by necessity leaving flavour and phenolics too… it seems like a silly sacrifice if you’ve got good fruit. But… well I got very drunk and had an epiphany about more gentle extraction, healthy yeast and temperature… this is going to be a geek’s wine, but, like I said, I want to play. That’s the theme at the moment.

I’m also hunting for some Sauvignon Blanc… one of my biggest icons in wine is the late Didier Dagueneau who used to belt out some crazy Pouilly Fume. Sauvginon Blanc that’s got weight, structure, balance, ageability and depth. There’s this idea that really resonates with me that forget the grape…. Just treat it with respect. Savvy B or Merlot or whatever else it’s cool to hate on, it’s all fine, just grow it on an appropriate site, treat it well in the vineyard and winery and care for it in the winery with respect.

2020 is going to be a bit of a trial year. Because I feel very much like I don’t really know anything.

The main focus will be canopy management, crop yields, yeast nutrition, health of yeast, air exchange (primarily before the ferments fire up), basically extending the time before ferments really fire up as much as possible and then keeping it healthy through the ferment, and putting a lot more focus on maturation afterwards (using better oak, and no new oak but instead cycling through much more second year oak to be more gentle).

I don’t know how much sense any of this makes, but hey, it’ll be fun.

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