Here Come the Grapes (and Men in Lycra)

Never too much Lycra

Never too much Lycra!

9.12am Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Back at work folks, and a beaut cold morning. I had to chisel myself out of bed. Great sleeping weather considering last week’s nasty ugly 5 day 40 degree heatwave. And today is officially my “you can never have too much Lycra on super fit male bodies” day! It’s the first leg of the Tour Down Under, cycling’s premier event in Australia,  and it’s from one great wine region to another – Clare (Clare Valley) to Tanunda (Barossa Valley), via our town Angaston.

This morning when I dropped in early to Blond Coffee for a special treat – they do a great mocha – the boys were already out and about putting up all the flags and banners on the sweeping bend halfway down the main street. I’ll have to slip out at some stage for a glimpse of the great Lance Armstrong as he zips by, and the organisers could not have ordered a more spectactular day for it.

The vintage for our Oxford Landing vineyard (from Waikerie in the Riverland) started yesterday with Sauvignon Blanc, traditionally the first variety to ripen. We’ll be watching these first ferments closely as they finish up, because the level of fruit expression is usually a good indication for how good the vintage will be. (A bit like how Pewsey Vale Riesling comes up as an indicator for the Eden Valley vintage) So Freddy and the OL folks are flat out picking, and Matt Pick and his crew are away and crushing on the 2010 vintage as we speak.

Early prediction from Louisa Rose: “At this stage it looks like the vintage will produce some excellent wines. The good spring rains have resulted in healthy vines, and the fruit is looking clean and flavourful. The heat we have had so far has been too early to damage the fruit quality.”

Mind you, we’re always in the lap of the gods until the fruit is safely through the crusher, and Lou’s last comment is right on the money – “The first Barossa grapes are still a couple of weeks away, but ripening quickly. Keep your fingers crossed for us now – we would like mild to warm and dry weather, the occasional light shower of rain to refresh the spirits, and a few extra hours in the day.”

I’ll be out and about over the next week with the winemakers to see how the Barossa and Eden Valley vineyards are coming on, and will keep you up to date.

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