2015 VINTAGE REVIEW - LinkClick.aspx
Considering the hectic start to vintage that we experienced way back in February, we never envisaged that it would still be going in April, let alone May.
Yet here we are on the 6th of May and we still have one block of Mataro scheduled to be picked in two days’ time. The 2015 harvest, though long, will yield some wonderful wines across all three of our main varietals; Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro and some stunning single vineyard releases.
As has been the trend for the past three years, we had a combination of late frost and low spring rain to deal with from the beginning of the growing season.
Our growers and viticultural team learnt a lot from the 2013 and 2014 vintages and the vines were extremely healthy prior to the New Year. We can expect hot conditions in January and February and without spring rains the vines struggle to cope. As a consequence, viticulture is leaning towards a more nurturing approach pre-Christmas.
Smart pruning and minor changes to the management of mid row crops have been a source of the improved wellbeing of the vines.
Fortunately we had more than 50mm of rain between the 8th and 14th of January which changed the course of the 2015 Vintage.
Harvest kicked off on the 6th of February with the Bothie. From this point the Shiraz came in very quickly due to the remainder of February being consistently warm. I don’t like to pick during the heat when the vines and fruit are under stress, so we picked sporadically and rapidly after cool nights when the vineyards had recovered. Between the 17th of February and the 1st of March we picked 60% of the harvest. This was all Shiraz and the fruit had wonderful freshness, good acidity and balance.
These two weeks were as hectic as any harvest, particularly since our vintage casuals weren’t scheduled to start until March.
Some stand out blocks were the Philippou Old Shiraz, the Hillside Old Shiraz (both RunRig) and of course The Laird. These wines have great depth, high tone aromatics and striking tannin profiles.
The turning of the calendar was almost in sync with the changing of the season and we welcomed mild days and cool nights which were perfect for ripening the remaining Shiraz as well as the Grenache and Mataro.
The Grenache looks similar to 2009, which is one of my favourite vintages for this variety. The hot conditions created beautiful fruit sweetness and the cool autumn nights allowed the fruit to hang and slowly develop tannin, depth and texture.
The chaos of February seemed a distant memory as the fruit ambled in when it pleased. The Les Amis vineyard was harvested on the 20th of March and followers of this wine will not be disappointed.
All of our wines rely on great terroir and viticulture and we believe that an extremely significant influence on the quality of our wine is when the fruit is picked. This is particularly true for Mataro where patience is required to ensure physiological and flavour ripeness is achieved, regardless of the sugar levels in the fruit. When picked green, Mataro can be tough, angular, insipid and lifeless. However, patience is rewarded with incredibly dense, complex and complete wines made from ripe Mataro in the Barossa Valley, where we truly believe some of the World’s best Mataro can be made. The Pict was harvested on the 15th of April and will again display perfectly the wild, untamed characteristics of this variety.
In years to come I think the 2015 harvest will be seen as one of very high quality. It was a testing season with many challenges, twists and turns and one that demanded attention, patience and focus from winemakers and viticulturists. These seasonal contests are what keep us interested and drive us towards an end goal of absolute quality, and I hope that the 2015 wines meet the expectations of all who drink them. Craig Isbel - Torbreck Senior Winemaker