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Well, it seems the fat lady is about to leave the stage.

Yes, vintage 2015 is almost over which is, according to my somewhat faded memory, one of the earliest ends to vintage in a long time. Normally, here in the Yarra Valley, we are still happily picking the Cabernet sauvignon well into April. I remember picking Cabernet in May back in the 1990s! So what does 2015 look like? Chatting to Stu and a variety of other winemakers in the region, the one absolute seems to be the beautiful acids.

The cooler summer has allowed the grapes to slowly ripen and retain their natural acidity. This bodes well for wines to be consumed both young and with age. Acid plays an important role in maintaining the freshness of the wine but is also important in ensuring colour is retained in our beautiful reds. With lower acids (and more importantly, higher pH), the colour components in red wine begin to take on a brownish hue, rather than the deep red and purple we prefer.

This year was the first year Helen & Joey Estate has produced a Merlot rosé. Rosé wines are enjoying a well-deserved revival at the moment. They are the perfect accompaniment to dishes featuring charcuterie as they have sufficient acid to support the fat and lots of red berry fruit character to keep you coming back for more. Why Merlot, instead of any other grape? We believe that Merlot has the perfect balance of redcurrant, mulberry and chocolate flavours to produce a fruity rosé with a slightly savoury edge. Keep your eyes open for their release which will be sometime in the second half of the year. It is too early to tell what will be the stand out wines from this year. Crop levels returned to normal levels after a light 2014. Everyone gave a huge sigh of relief, especially with regards to the Pinot noir which was very low yielding in 2014. All of the hard work Stu has been putting into the vineyard has certainly paid off.

Lastly, in our news, we have welcomed a new Cellar Door Manager, Will Sargeant. He hit the floor running with a trip to Prowein Germany with Helen in March. By all accounts, they were kept busy pouring wine and meeting potential customers. We have also welcomed a new General Manager to our team at Yarra HJ Shanghai, Tony Lin. I am sure you all join me in saying congratulations and welcome to the team.

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