Too be advised
Quite an incredible season and very similar to the 2012 vintage that has produced trophy winning wines. We recall in March of 2012 beautiful green paddocks (normally golden colour) and full dams for our first ever Music Festival now fast forward to the 2017 Sanguine Estate Music Festival held in February and it was exactly the same (including a full moon – well nearly full moon).
During 2017 it rained on a fortnightly basis due to the Indian Ocean constantly producing thick cloud bands that travelled from WA dumping large volumes of rain and cooling the centre of Australia taking away the usual heatwaves in January and February. We didn’t get many 40-degree days and when we did, it was usually followed by a cold front.
We went into harvest with the vines in “extremely” good health and very little crop thinning was needed due to the large healthy canopies. With record yields (up 20% to 30% on our biggest harvest) combined with the cooler conditions it was a very very long harvest with picking finishing in May. So, for the Shiraz wines, Mark has lots of very different batches to have fun blending with.
Our boutique vineyard and winery is a family enterprise intent on making concentrated, sophisticated and complex wines inspired by our unique Heathcote terroir, a fault line of ancient Cambrian red rock pulverised over 510 million years into soil.
We have utilised the vertical shoot positioning trellis system to open up the canopy, reduce the risk of disease and expose bunches to direct sun light for ripening. The vines are cane pruned to a single fruiting wire with a maximum 20 buds per vine. Crop levels are naturally low and hence bunch thinning is generally not required and irrigation kept to a minimum with some blocks unirrigated.
To conserve the natural balance within the soils and hence the overall health of the vines, we aim to minimise the use of chemicals. It is our practice to utilise organic principles in the first instance such as organic fertilisers and mulching to control weed growth and then if absolutely necessary, use small amounts of chemicals to target specific parts of the vineyard.
We utilize traditional winemaking practices such as small fermentation tanks, natural fermentation (i.e. no yeast additions) and gravity feeding. Whilst this can be quite labour intensive, we believe it ensures the preservation of natural fruit flavours and the Heathcote terroir character. As with all varieties produced at Sanguine Estate, the grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed and then naturally fermented with wild indigenous yeasts in small open fermenters. The wine is then transferred via gravity (to avoid pump shock) to French oak barrels (approximately 10% new) to ensure a more complex wine with greater tannin structure to ensure age worthiness. A wine that can be enjoyed even further with food. It is left to mature in oak for approximately 10 months.