McLaren Vale | 2014
The 2014 vintage in McLaren Vale was at times a challenging one for all of us in the region. Extremes of weather pushed the grapevines to the limit of their tolerance. And yet at the end of it all while yields are low the wine quality is excellent with great colour and bright, pure fruit flavours. Vintages such as these remind us just how resilient grape vines are.
Winter rains were again very good filling the soil with water ready for the growing season. A very windy spring threw the first challenge for the vines, stunting shoot growth and limiting fruit set at flowering, ultimately reducing yields at harvest. Post November the rains stopped and the ground quickly dried out. This was exacerbated by multiple extreme heat events including one five-day heat wave in January with temperatures over 40C. Thankfully at Mitolo we have access to good irrigation water with the ability to distribute it quickly around the vineyard helping us to survive this period. And then it rained. On February 14 we received our entire average summer rainfall in one day. The rain was much heavier north of us though with Adelaide recording its sixth wettest day ever of 75mm. Our vineyard received some 40mm giving the vines some much needed reprieve. The rain was followed by quite mild conditions pushing harvest out through March and into early April, giving us time to pick each block at its optimum ripeness.
Our Vermentino and Sagrantino, varieties that come from hot parts of Italy, handled the early heat very well, making bright, fresh varietal wines. Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet began to show signs of stress during the heat but welcomed the rain and extended ‘hang time’ afterwards. These wines have quite amazing deep, bright colour and a lighter touch not dissimilar to 2013. All in all despite the challenges we are quietly confident that the wines from 2014 will be outstanding.