After 28 years and working 7 days a week, Lindsay and Wendy are looking for a bit more relaxation at weekends. It is therefore planned to open cellar door for a shorter season twice each year, coinciding with the release of new wines. In addition, the rather labour intensive format of seated tastings and serving of meal size food platters will be replaced by counter service of wines for tasting and an offering of simple cheese and cracker platters served with a glass or bottle of wine for those wishing to sit and enjoy the ambience of our cellar door setting, either inside with a cheery fire to keep you warm or outside in our beautiful garden.
Cellar door this year will be open every Saturday and Sunday through September and October from 11am to 4 pm, coinciding with the release of our Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines. In March 2019, we will announce the release of new vintages of our Uley Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and will reopen cellar door each weekend in April to allow tasting and purchase of these and other wines.
It’s possibly one of the most rewarding feelings when I finally have the wine in barrel. This is the culmination of a year’s sweat, stress and sleepless nights and visually I find it very rewarding to stand back and actually see the wine sitting there.
The process from grape to the barrel has involved picking, cooling, de-stemming, fermenting, pressing, settling and racking the settled wines from tank to barrel. “Racking” is a term to describe the process of transferring the clear wine off the settled sediment. This sediment is known as “the lees”, which is comprised of grape and yeast residue.
Further settling will continue to occur in the barrels in the following months and further rackings will be required to ensure desired clarity prior to bottling.
A further process to occur in barrel is malolactic fermentation. This secondary fermentation is performed by wine bacteria which convert harsh malolactic acid (think green apples) into soft lactic acid (think milk, cream). This will improve the over-all balance and “mouth feel” of the wine. Furthermore, it is necessary that the process occurs before bottling to avoid further fermentation occurring in the bottle which would result in major impairment of the quality of wine.
We’re not quite there yet but seeing the wine in barrel always gives me a second wind as I know that the lion’s share of the year’s work is over. There is little to do but watch, wait and follow the maturation of the wine as it sits in barrel.
Who said there’s ever little to do; in a winery the cycle never stops – just the way I like it.
Harvest is always the most stressful time of the year. There is an urgent need to get the fruit off the vines as fast as possible to ensure the optimal level of ripeness. Needless to say, when time is of the essence my blood pressure starts to rise – usually in synchronicity with the sun. We always start at day break when the fruit is cool and then hope for overcast days – however it doesn’t always unfold as planned.
We rely on a series of elements that must all be in place, like clockwork, to ensure the best outcome – pickers, wranglers, transport, weather, drivers, equipment and even the morning tea and lunch breaks at the local cold store all need to come together in a kind of grand design. One unforeseen failure in one element can be catastrophic.
This year, we started harvest with a cool morning but a day promising heat. We rushed to grab the Sauvignon Blanc and the second day the Chardonnay, as fast as we could. We were low on pickers so the race was on and everyone worked hard to make up for the lack of labour to finish the job. With the harvest of the Pinot the following day, we were racing against a cold front which was sweeping through the hills – backed by strong winds and heavy rain – all part of living in a micro-climate. The last bin was ferried away to the cold store just as the first drops started to fall. Perfect timing, but in a vineyard you need to be wary of hubris and so I’ll just say this time I was lucky. And harvest all completed in three days!
As mentioned before, the fruit looks extremely promising; lower yields, but from talking to other winemakers in the region it seems a common trend this vintage.
I’m planning on making extra quantities of my Pinot Noir based Rosè, the Piccadilly Sunrise, this year to avoid disappointing all of you who either missed out or ran dry after stocks were ravenously devoured by new and loyal supporters. Also, I’m producing a little extra Sauvignon Blanc to satisfy demand and I suspect this vintage, based on fruit quality, will be one of my best.
Chardonnay also looks strong and initial juice characteristics extremely promising. The Pinot Noir, bubbling away in its open fermenters, needs regular plunging which reminds me of witches’ cauldrons where spells and magic are made – there is of course the occasional curse muttered.
2018 looks like it will be a standout vintage for the Adelaide Hills and especially the Piccadilly Valley. There is still a lot to do, but for the time being the vineyard can rest while I get to work.
We always enjoy ourselves at the Cellar Door Festival and this year was no exception. Was great to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
We showed the limited release, recently bottled, 2017 Fumé Blanc and it was a crowd favourite. Not to rain on the parade of our award winning current release 2015 vintages of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, of course.
Thanks to everyone who came and your ongoing support for Cool Climate Varietals and Barratt Wines.
Looking forward to next year, be sure to join us.
Lindsay & Wendy.
We’re so, so close.
The Piccadilly Valley traditionally calls vintage a little later than most, but that’s why the Adelaide Hills Wine Region saves the best for last. The reason is the cool climate environment in which we grow our vines, due to the altitude – which is some 550 meters above sea level.
The Piccadilly Valley has its own micro-climate which means our weather conditions and temperatures can vary dramatically from other areas around the Adelaide Hills and certainly on the plains. As one of the wettest and coldest places in South Australia, things take a little longer – fruitwise – to come of age and ready themselves for harvest. The climate is perfect for cool climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and of course, Pinot Noir; a complex but delicate beast that only grows in a handful of pockets around the globe.
In my view, considering the alluring flavours and wonderful perfumes, tannin notes and boastful length, Pinot Noir can take as long as it likes – it’s always worth the wait.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m excited about this vintage and should start sampling this week to get my hands dirty in the chemistry of it all.
We’re so close I can feel it.
I’ve just finished bottling the 2017 Fumé Blanc, I’ve only made a few of them over the years, but the fruit from the 2017 harvest was so magnificent I just couldn’t stop myself.
For those who are unsure but too afraid to ask, a Fumé Blanc, put quite simply, is an Oak Fermented Sauvignon Blanc. The term interestingly, is not coined by the French, but by the Californians – in particular Robert Mondavi in the late 1960’s. “Fumé Blanc” literally translates as “smoky white”. Traditionally the term refers to an oak-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented in oak by wild yeasts and left to mature in barrel for eleven months the wine turned out wonderfully.
Release will be for cellar door exclusively, but what better excuse to languish in our Japanese garden over a lazy weekend and see what all the Fumé fuss is about.
It’s a great time in the vineyard when you see the fruit just push past veraison (the stage in the annual growth cycle of the grapevine where the grapes soften and begin to develop sugar).
The Pinot Noir fruit has passed 50% of its colour change from soft green into rich deep purples and indicates the rapid approach of vintage. I can finally get a feel for Vintage 2018 by wandering through the vines and peaking beneath the foliage.
The fruit looks strong and well developed, no “Hens & Chickens” in the clusters, also known by the French term, millerandage (a state when a grape bunch contains berries of different sizes and levels of maturity). The normal-sized, seeded berries are the “hens,” and the small, seedless berries are the “chickens.” It’s believed to be caused by cool weather during flowering. Such irregular clusters obviously affect the fruit yield and distribution of sugars and so we like to avoid them.
Although the fruit looks more than promising, the yield this year looks a little lower than in previous vintages. This is of little concern however as less fruit on the vine usually means better quality over all as the same amount of sugars and nutrients are being distributed through less clusters. Much like sharing a cake with fewer people – the pieces are larger.
However, one can speculate all they like but until I conduct my sampling run in the oncoming weeks I won’t know for sure, but that’s the game – the constant battle between reason and intuition.
Fortunately this year, they’re both telling me the same thing : 2018 looks extremely promising.
It’s a painful but necessary sight to see old cordons stacked up high for burning, however spectacular the bonfire may be. The relationship I’ve built with these vines over years of pruning and promoting vertical shoot growth, harvesting and of course producing the fruit of our labour – the wine. It always puts me in check as I recognise how fleeting moments are and how special it is to be able to bottle them.
Cordons are the canes which are trained along the cordon wire from which spring the shoots bearing the grapes for next year’s harvest. This pile of removed cordons is from half of one three acre Chardonnay block. As such, no fruit from this section will be produced this year, just extensive vegetative growth. The other half of this block was removed last year: new canes were selected and trained onto a new cordon wire during last year’s pruning season (May to August) and will produce fruit this year.
Why do we remove them? If left too long the vines will become less fruitful. To encourage new growth and vine management we ideally remove the cordons every 5 – 10 years. Cane pruned vines such as Sauvignon Blanc actually have the cordon removed annually and produce fruit on newly laid down canes.
I’ll let you know when we’ll light it up, after harvest and the fire-ban season of course but before too much rain sets in. Feel free to come along and have a memorial glass of Chardonnay in the warming glow of old friends who are responsible for producing such great cool climate Chardonnay.
How thrilling, the Jasmine Indian Restaurant in Hindmarsh Square Adelaide, a long supporter of Barratt Wines has just unearthed a 2006 Barratt Pinot Noir, a truly memorable vintage, a gold medal and trophy winner of the Adelaide Hills Wine Show.
I recently opened a bottle a couple of months ago with close friends and it was outstanding, great continuing tannin structure, precise lasting length, delicate tones and of course wonderful aromatics.
There was only one bottle discovered and I believe price is negotiable.
I’m so envious as I only have a few bottles left in my own cellar.
A real golden ticket, if you grab it please get in touch and let me know what you thought about it.