With the final fruit (Riversdale Vineyard cabernet sauvignon) coming off the vine during the last week in April, harvest is officially complete for vintage 2023. After a dry, moderate summer, a cool growing season has resulted in a slower ripening year, with whites coming off the vine nearly three weeks later than normal, and a later finish to harvest. There are benefits and drawbacks to a later harvest. Thankfully, good decisions such as vineyard site selection and vineyard management have proven their merit in a harvest which will showcase exceptional fruit with a lovely balance of natural acidity and strong varietal flavour developed with extra time on the vine.
This year, yields look good across the board, and we are very happy with the fruit quality. Earlier ripening varieties, especially riesling, are looking exceptional. Frankland River reds are also looking particularly good this vintage, and we expect our 2023 reds to exhibit qualities of finesse and elegance due to the slow, cool ripening season. We are all eager to see what magic our winemaking team will work on our flagship Limited Release collection wines, with exceptional quality fruit picked for 'The Philip Adrian' Cabernet Sauvignon, 'The Vivienne' Chardonnay, and 'The Pamela' Riesling. With a few reds still to be pressed off their skins, most wines are in tank or barrel as we prepare for our first bottlings in June.
Chardonnay / Pinot Noir
The chardonnay and pinot noir from our Singlefile vineyard has been handpicked, with improved yields this year, and a lovely balance of fruit flavour and natural acidity. With the last chardonnay pick extending into some very wet Denmark weather, our team's prudent vineyard management resulted in a damp but very successful harvest, with the fruit for 'The Vivienne' Denmark Chardonnay displaying all the qualities we hope for.
Riesling / Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Noir / Shiraz
Early ripening varieties, particularly riesling, look great this vintage, which augurs well for the quality of our second vintage of 'The Pamela' Porongurup Riesling. Again, the cool ripening season impacted harvest with riesling, usually the first variety to be harvested, staying on the vines into autumn and ensuring a good build up of varietal flavour. Porongurup sauvignon blanc and pinot noir are also displaying lovely flavour.
Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon / Grenache / Mataro / Malbec / Tempranillo / Sangiovese
Frankland River typically produces quality red fruit with full varietal flavour even in cooler years, as the temperature in the sub-region is slightly warmer than the rest of the Great Southern and receives the least rainfall. This year has been no exception with Frankland River reds, especially shiraz, looking particularly good. The picks for 'The Philip Adrian' Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon have resulted in beautiful looking fruit which we look forward to showcasing in an elegant, yet opulent wine style. Picking reds well into autumn pays dividends in terms of flavour development, as long as Mother Nature is kind with the rain! The cooler season will result in more elegant and refined wine styles.
Riesling / Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Grigio / Fiano / Vermentino / Pinot Noir
It has been a great quality vintage for Mount Barker whites despite some challenging rain events throughout the season, particularly in mid-March.
The proof - as ever - will be in the drinking! We are looking forward to sharing the wines that tell the story of vintage 2023, with Great Southern Riesling and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc the first varieties to be bottled in June. At the culmination of this year's harvest, we are grateful for another year working in the beautiful Great Southern wine region.