Iain Riggs" It is hard to believe that only 5 weeks have passed since the last report as it does feel more like 10 weeks. Such is the fun of vintage that everyone works twice as long and in one week 2,000km may have been covered. The incessant rain hasn’t helped anyone’s demeanour. The stop/start nature meant that, ‘are we there yet?’ has been replaced with ‘can we start yet?’ In 2011 Australia Day was celebrated in 43C sunshine but with 2012 it was 30mm of drizzling rain. Brokenwood launched into #vintage2012 on 31st January and while we have had to walk away from a few vineyards, we did end up with the full volume of Semillon we required. The problem was twofold for a lot of vineyards; the lack of summer combined with high crops. The first classification tasting has confirmed they are top class Semillon’s with plenty of citrus/lime juice and mineral texture. A few Single Vineyard parcels will be kept separate. The last Semillon crush was on the 20th February so a lot more spread out than usual. Rainfall for February has been 170mm.
Even with two fruit thinning sweeps through the Graveyard Vineyard, the lack of heat has meant diabolically slow ripening. More fun to watch paint dry. These photo’s are of us pressing our 300kg picked off the most southern Graveyard block, affectionately known as either Steel City or now days Vegas block due the fortune spent on it over the years. Well Brokenwood is boutique!!!! The feeling is that at least the ‘hang time’ the reds have had, has ripened some of the tannins and now also very good colour. Classic, low alcohol Hunter Valley dry reds are going to be the feature of 2012. On a very happy note, new winemaker Simon Steele, saw most of the Semillon into the winery and then shot through to Beechworth where he knew the region was shaping up for one of its best in years. As at 24th February, all the Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir have been picked with lots of variations in processing. Simon, having worked in Burgundy and more recently with Matt Harrop at Shadowfax does know a thing or two about getting complexity with finesse in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Shiraz should also be very exciting with the State of Origin blocks another year older. These are cuttings from the old vines on Graveyard, Rayner, Wade and Seville Estate vineyards.
A week of 30-35C weather has helped the last of the Graveyard Vineyard and Verona Shiraz that was left out. KB and Katrina have worked wonders in the vineyard and even though a lot of rain is due, we’re prepared to leave a couple of blocks out. The possibility of a Hunter Shiraz or yes, even a Graveyard Shiraz looks better every day."