A kangaroo in the vineyard. St Hallett – the 2011 vintage so far…

Barossa ValleyLocated in the heart of Australia’s Barossa wine region, St Hallett winery has been producing fine wines since 1944.  Chris Rodgers from St Hallett shares the latest news about their 2011 vintage.

“Yes, it’s been wet in the Barossa too!

Standing in mud in the vineyard

The last big rain was on March 8th, but it didn’t cause anywhere near the berry splitting or disease that some people have been talking about. There was some Downy Mildew back in November and December, but this only caused minor crop loss in Grenache, and has since dried up and not become a problem.

It has been a remarkably cool growing season – akin to 2002 and 2005, which rank among some of the best. Yes, there is a bit of botrytis in Eden Valley Riesling now, but we have already started on some of the earlier Eden Valley Rieslings, and the handpicked batches in tank look great – ripe yet elegant.

The team at St Hallet – Shelley Cox, Jeremy Ottawa, Chris Rodgers & Darin Kinzie

St Hallett’s 2011 vintage started on February 11 with Barossa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  Aside from the last four vintages, this is about normal timing. As of March 18 we have now finished all the Barossa Valley Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Yields have been above estimate, and a little above long term average. The quality of the Sems and Savs for the Poacher’s Blend look fantastic – great aromatics, zesty acids, and real purity of fruit. The remaining Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in Eden Valley is still in great condition.  Semillon is usually the first to split from rain, but this year it seems to be standing up really well.

Kangaroo in the vineyard

We picked our first Shiraz on March 16, which now puts us about a week behind long term average.  If this block is a sign of whats to come, then Shiraz yields will be down on the long term average. Quality-wise it’s too early to call.  On the vine, colour and flavours look bright with soft yet mouthcoating tannins. The weather is continuing to be cool and cloudy at the moment, especially in the mornings, but the sun seems to poke through in the afternoons. It’s a bit of a “long sleeves in the morning and t-shirt in the afternoon” kind of vintage!

Shiraz is ripening quite slowly in these conditions, but we aren’t too concerned as everything seems to be +13.5 Baume already – even the Cabernet SauvignonGrenache might be a long haul, but everyone has now accepted the fact that we won’t be getting this Easter off like we have with the last four.”

For more about winemakers and vineyards including Tony Dodd’s (Head of MMI wine) discoveries on his visit to Australia and New Zealand click here.

A range of St Hallett wines are stocked by MMI.  Drop us a line in the comments section if you’d like to know more.

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