McLaren Vale | 2004
A longer than usual vintage attributed to cool conditions during ripening was welcomed by winemakers who reported the production of high quality wines across both red and white wine styles.
Good winter and spring rainfall ensured good and even budburst that enabled growers to maintain adequate soil moisture for maintenance of healthy grapevine canopies from veraison though to harvest.
A warm and dry November saw a rapid flowering period, which was followed by good berry set and a quick yet even veraison. The region experienced the coolest January in twelve years followed by above-average temperatures in February 2004 and dry conditions leading into harvest. Despite two exceptionally hot days in February, shrivel and sunburn was minimal due to good canopies filtering the damaging effects of direct sunlight. As a result, fruit condition at harvest was excellent.
Crop levels were up on previous seasons, with a combination of good fruitfulness and many younger vineyards coming into full production contributing to the increased yield. The long ripening season took the pressure off fruit intake allowing wineries to schedule harvest when flavours and baumé were at an optimum.
Winemakers’ comments centred on the high quality of Cabernet Sauvignons and Shiraz attributed to fruit reaching full flavour ripeness, excellent colour, and tannin with wines exhibiting great varietal flavours and aromas.
Barossa Valley | 2004
A heavy fruitset initially led to predictions for high yields in the Barossa, but bunch thinning around veraison brought crop levels back to manageable levels with promising grape quality.
A mild January 2004 was ideal for optimal colour production and flavour development. Heatwave conditions in mid-February saw acidity decline at a rapid rate in conjunction with rising baumé levels. Harvest began earlier than first predicted, with the earliest Shiraz being picked in late-February. Quality expectations returned to high after February, where the Barossa experienced a fantastic ‘Indian Summer’ with no major rainfall and temperatures ranging between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Shiraz had good colour with elegant flavours and was widely regarded as very good quality. Other red varieties including Grenache, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon were also looking very promising.