9.36am, Thursday 31st March, Yalumba Weighbridge, Angaston, Eden Valley, The Barossa
On the way in this morning, I saw the first scarecrows of the season in Angaston – which means it’s not long at all until Vintage Festival (April 23rd – May 1st) There’s a top scarecrow competition each festival, folks get really creative – a couple of years ago there was even a row boat chock full of scarecrows in the main street of Tanunda.
Now crazy busy is about the best label for the weighbridge and grape lab these days.
The weather continues to hold, which means there’s a lot of tired but very smiley faces around the Barossa, as they take the grapes off whilst the sun shines. But that means stacks of individual vineyard grape samples to plough through every day, so that the winemakers and grapegrowers can keep planning and harvesting ongoing. There’s a definite undercurrent of urgency around the Valley to get whatever is ripe off – as there’s no guarantee how long the weather will hold. Last night and this morning we’ve got Cabernet Sauvignon from both ends of the Barossa floor in – Lyndoch and Light Pass – and some more Eden Valley Chardonnay starting to come off. Here’s Elaine running the sample crusher at the weighbridge – because we take pretty large samples as they give you a much more accurate picture of what’s going on out in the vineyard.
Yesterday afternoon the Riesling from the Pewsey Vale Contours block was handpicked, and there was a bit of mould around the fruit on some of the top rows, so any bunch that wasn’t 100% sound was dropped on the ground. We lost a bit of volume, but that’s no drama whatsoever, as the fruit that came in looked really good, tasted limey and zippy fresh. So whatever ends up in the bottle under the Contours label will go well. Here are three pictures to show how that all worked.
First, here’s a bin on the load – all handpicked fruit from the Contours terraces at Pewsey Vale.
Second, here’s a closer look at the form of the individual bunches.
Third is a bit of a closeup showing the characteristic ‘freckles’ – called lenticels – that are on all riesling bunches.
Just for interest – there’s still a lot of Shiraz hanging on in nice shape that should show up quite well. This is from the family’s own Old Triangle vineyard directly opposite the Yalumba winery, 90 year old vines, and the fruit out in the wind – clean and dry – and travelling well.
Now for this morning. We’re trying to keep everything as separate as possible ferment wise, so that any outstanding parcels can be kept that way – just gives you more to work with down the track. Here’s the lineup of today’s ferments – the winemakers look at everything all the time
And I pulled one of the Shiraz ferments from the Moppa area north of Nuriootpa out because it gives you an idea of how good the colours are already. Actually – Kev Glastonbury has got something a bit special here – and I’ll be following it through to see how it finishes ferment.