Every vintage is different of course – which makes for the beauty and intrigue of wine – and it is certainly true of the 2016 FOC Chardonnay which as well as showing the characteristic stone fruit character this year, also shows a hint of custard apple. There are citrus characters too, and with a fresh zesty finish make this once again a lovely fresh, understated Chardonnay.
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.
Preservation is the name of the game here – of both flavours (nectarine and peach) and of natural acidity, which is why the grapes are picked at night to keep them cool so we can press them off straight into tank before the sun rises. Four o’clock is made up of various batches of Chardonnay which Joch and the winery team keep separate so we have a selection of delicious components from which to blend the final wine. We protect the batches from oxygen, and keep the ferments cool in their stainless steel fermenting vats.
Picking Date: 1st and 5th February 2016
Bottling Date: 31st July 2017