Vintage 2017 thats a wrap
How it began….. look at those blue skies!
Chatting with Jamie this morning, we agreed that the Pinot noir and Chardonnay are pretty impressive from this vintage. This is testament to the amount of work Jamie and Dave have put in to the vineyard. The ideal vintage conditions allowed us time to follow their development and pick at the optimal date. Both the Chardonnay and Pinot noir fermented perfectly with the Alena and Layla ranges all undergoing wild fermentation. We were collecting samples of the fermenting juice as we are participating in a study by the University of Melbourne on microbial terroir. I can’t wait to see the results of what bugs we have out there in our vineyards.
The cooler conditions and rain in early April meant that our later ripening varieties (Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet sauvignon) were slowed down a little bit, giving us time to lock away the whites and Pinot before moving on to the other reds. Vintage 2017 is not a year of big, blockbuster wines but one of elegant, beautifully formed wines – just what we want at Helen & Joey Estate. We were lucky enough that our small amount of Merlot, Cab Sauv and Shiraz destined for Wayward Child ripened within a few days of each other so we were able to do a co-ferment (albeit, a staggered one!).
And so it (nearly) ends….. not so sunny now! Look at the changing colour of the vines.
Everything is looking great and the reds will go to barrel next week for some maturing and refining time. The Layla and Alena Chardonnays have been in barrel about 4 weeks and are starting to develop some lovely oak characteristics, as are the Pinots. Happy days!
We have had a lot of fun with the open, hogshead fermenters this year (as have many of our visitors to cellar door!). They have been affectionately dubbed the Daleks as they look like a gaggle of ominous sentinels capped with their black covers. Steven has now perfected how to empty them for pressing and is doing the last of them today. We have used them for both Pinot noir and Cabernet sauvignon and are super impressed by the quality of the tannin and colour extraction. They will definitely be used next year. Once they are emptied, they will be given a good clean and the heads put back in them so we can age our wine in them – the equivalent of nose to tail eating for barrels!
Our end of vintage party is tonight and we have a lot to celebrate – not only a great vintage but an amazing, hard working, fun loving team. We have had a lot of laughs over the last 8 weeks and have been given loads of support from our wonderful cellar door team. So thank you to everyone and here’s to getting the wine to bottle!