The 2019 vintage is progressing well here in Mount Benson. With all of our white grapes harvested between the last week of February and the second week in march signalling a long term normal timed vintage for the region. We are still in the midst of vintage in early April with growers beginning to harvest red grapes over the coming days. The season was well founded upon a wet winter with higher than average rainfall but with average temperatures. Budburst in the Mount Benson region was later than recent years with most varieties completing budburst 1-2 weeks later realigning our harvest timing to our more traditional vintage season. A heavy rainfall event in November occurred in the flowering season, impacting Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc with these varieties showing some hen and chicken. Temperatures during the summer season were also in line with our long term averages however a heat spike in late January with an associated record hot day of 41.8 deg C, assisted to bring the white harvest forward slightly. While the rest of the state battled this heat and lack of water the cool and more importantly consistent climatic conditions of Mt Benson again reinforces the importance of it as a premium wine producing region in a changing climate.
Good bright aromatics and vibrancy are once again abundant in whites which are showing some promise for the vintage with great natural acid retention and in some cases proving to be challenging. This (natural acid retention) has also translated to the red varieties with a lower need for adjustment giving great age ability to these wines. Flavour and phenolic ripeness in red varieties is appearing to preceed the sugar ripeness giving us a much desired lower alcohol vintage.
It has been a challenge for the vignerons this year to fit back into a more traditional vintage with wineries staffing themselves based on the more compressed vintages of recent years. The hustle bustle of these more compressed vintages has been the norm and with a more spread out laconic vintage winemakers and growers have found themselves in their vineyards sampling and assessing more often. It has been a wonderfully social vintage this year for the winemakers with more time to enjoy a beer or two with the neighbours.