We had a very dry spring leading up to vintage 2016 and it was windy, too. We expect windy conditions in Willunga, but this was pretty intense. October and December were both pretty warm, whereas November was mild. Very healthy crops were recorded across all varieties in McLaren Vale. We had a huge downpour at the end of January a few days before the whites were due to be picked; this kind of weather event tends to give Joch a sense of tightening around the left chest area, neck and sometimes down the arm. However this 50mm downpour succeeded in refreshing the vines, giving us a few more days before picking and bringing the lawns back from the brink. February was mild with cool nights and March provided pretty good picking conditions, give or take a few warm days.
Pinot Noir in McLaren Vale is a historical anomaly; our Pinot vines are practically the last but ones left from the Pinot boom of the 1980’s, when every man and his dog grew Pinot to supply the big wine companies with sparkling wine base. We are very glad we still have some left. We stopped growing it to sell as sparkling base some time ago, and instead make a delicious light to medium-bodied style of PN. We treat in gently in the winery to preserve the delicate red fruit characters. We don’t want to make a big Vale dry red, so about a third of the grapes go through ‘cab mac’ (carbonic maceration) which is essentially anaerobic fermentation. This softens out the tannins. The rest of the grapes were made in a fairly standard fashion – crushed and fermented in open vessels. This component spends about 6 months in older oak barrels before joining up with its ‘cab mac’ mates and going to bottle.
Aster has a gentle aroma of strawberries and plums, ripe but not over-ripe. There is the mildest whiff of spice too. The palate is silky and supple with those lovely red fruits swimming through the middle. Lovely, almost imperceptible tannins frame the wine and make it a most delicious drink.
|Picking Date||11th, 15th and 26th February 2016|
|Bottling Date||27th September 2016|