What an exciting vintage for Finniss River Wines. The vineyard continues to exceed our expectations and produce great quality fruit.
We had a very wet winter which saw the Finniss River flood no less than 5 times. Of course this meant that our front driveway was underwater 5 times. The deepest our front gate was submerged topped out at 2.2 metres for more than 2 days. Following from the last few years which have been very dry, this was a welcome change of pace.
Luckily for us, we only saw the benefits of the rain and not some of the downside that our mates in some neighbouring regions saw, as our River vineyard has all its vines well above flood level.
We have very little disease pressure at the vineyard, unlike many other areas, so we don’t need to panic too much when we have lots of rain or humidity. The consistent breezes from the ocean and the lakes provide constant airflow throughout the year. This moderates climate and humidity levels.
I think everyone in South Australia was surprised at how cool our summer was this year. This led to a long ripening period and pushed out harvest for several weeks across most of the state. We usually harvest quite late so we were only delayed by a few weeks and the fruit ripened reasonably consistently throughout.
We pick all of our grapes based on flavour rather than a set formula, as we believe this will provide better wines from each vintage. Each year is different so we like to make sure we get the right balance between ripeness, acidity and flavour from each variety. The numbers that come back from the lab will give you a guide but there is no machine that can test flavour as well as the human palate.
There is nothing I love more than being out in the vineyard with our Viticulturist and winemaker and biting into bunches of grapes like they are apples. Then to taste that wonderful ripening throughout the season with every bite is truly a magical sensory experience.
The Pinot Noir and the Cabernet Sauvignon are by far the standouts of the 2017 vintage. The Pinot has been split into a few parcels to see what works best and we are really excited with how it is progressing.
As I write this report we are already bottling our first run of 2017 Pinot Noir. This is an early release wine that is a true expression of the vineyard with very little human interference. This style of wine is soft, fruity and delicious and is very popular in many European countries where families make wine each year for their own consumption. The second parcel has been set aside in old oak barrels to mature and develop a bit further so you will need to watch this space for future developments.
The third and final parcel has been made into a Rosé. This Pinot Rosé is delicate and floral with lovely fresh flavours. The colour is bright and pink and correctly portrays the youthfulness of the wine.
The Cabernet is full of rich, deep, dark fruit flavour and is developing very nicely. This wine will be aged for a while to mature into the sexy and seductive variety that is Cabernet. We can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
With the Pinot and the Cabernet as standouts don’t think we are discounting the Shiraz and the Chardonnay. Both are fantastic this year with the Chardonnay being split between still and sparkling. The Shiraz continues to offer its lovely deep colouring with earthy undertones and rich black fruits.
We’ll be picking out the Reserve parcels of each wine soon and putting these down into a mix of new and old French oak barrels for ageing and flavour development.
From this vintage you should expect to see well balanced wines that are not as extracted and tannic as many of the warmer years.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming tastings and events that showcase our Estate grown wines, please come and visit our cellar door at Christies Beach soon.