first official vintage report of the year:
Colombard 1 acre 3.5 tonnes 13.3 Baume
Chardonnay 1 acre 8.6 tonnes 13.5 Baume
Rod (oh matey) Macpherson, reports that all the acid and pH readings are
hunky dory - well, actually he said “Oh, they’re okay, I suppose.” He reminds
me more and more of A.A. Milne’s Eeyore every year.
Colombard is unknown. Never tried on the Granite Belt before, we can report
that it is very sweet but has excellent acidity - damn it, it is tangy,
that’s what it is. Who knows what we can do with it? Only the good Lord,
at this stage.
(Bob the builder) Hall, one of our Pleasant Pluckers on the weekend, having
toiled in the field, built us a drying rack with a fine mesh material donated
by Alan (the pool man) Long to test how well we can dry the fruit. Thanks
Ron. I shall hang a plaque on it (or a plague if it doesn’t work). So far
it is working, by the way. The objective in subsequent years is to make
a sweet dessert style wine with the Colombard, drying the fruit and then
fermenting it. This year the undried fruit will make both a stand alone
sweeter style wine and a blend with Chardonnay.
Chardonnay must set some sort of record for the Granite belt. Getting 8.6
tonnes from a single acre is virtually unheard of, let alone for quality
fruit of high Baume. We’re pretty chuffed about it. Even Rod was upbeat
(well, he grunted something anyway). The huge quantity means that as well
as the Chardonnay/Colombard blend and the planned wooded Chard, we shall
also produce an unwooded one (yes, yes, I can hear the critics crying “baby
shall have to name all of these wines, of course. All suggestions gratefully
received. While removing the bird netting from the Colombard we were struck
by the number of lizards in the foliage that were flung into the air by
the action of the machine and its operators. I am definitely considering
a “Leaping Lizard Colombard”.
what is becoming a tradition, some of the Pleasant Pluckers on the weekend
brought with them some unusual items that are worthy of remark. Allan (och
aye) Robertson brought some proper Scottish shortbread biscuits which were
absolutely superb (and a bargain, no doubt). They were clearly made by
his wife who is a genuine Scot.
contrast, at huge cost to himself and his cellar, Kerry (couldn’t we organise
this differently) Robinson brought up a wonderful “vertical” pair - two
Saltram Shirazes, the newer a 1992, the older a 1982. Ten years apart they
both drank superbly and the 20 year old wine was about as fresh as the
day it was born. Magnificent and thoroughly enjoyed by every drunken bum
(as I said to the Prime Minister) Churchill contributed song sheets that
everyone managed to ignore. “They are not singers,” Derek intimated. He’s
not wrong but, boy, they can snore up a symphony.
(I’m no expert) Condon raided her late husband’s cellar for an absolutely
superb 1994 Rovalley Ridge Cab Sav. The wine of the night, in my estimation
but what the heck would I know.
(ooh my back) Meers brought up a bottle of kit wine in an old Valpolicella
bottle called MASI for which Churchill supplied several crude acronyms.
Allegedly, Iain's son's father-in-law (it sounds like one of Peter Reith's
better alibis, doesn't it?) made the wine from a kit of grape juice and
yeast. "He can't remember what the grape variety was only that it had a
French name," says Iain. Anyway it tasted like a light and very pleasant
Shiraz/Grenache Rhone blend. It reminded me of an old summer wine trick
I used to have prior to entering the viticulture business. I would buy
cask red, chill it and mix it half and half with soda plus a few ice cubes.
It would be interesting to do a cost comparison. I think we would have
to say "relatively" well done, Iain.
own contribution (who said John (Adolph) Arlidge? Someone has to keep the
troops moving, don’t they)? We did a vertical sampling of the 1999, 2000
and 2001 WGW Republic Reds. Not bad, if I do say so myself but what the
heck would I know.
ate well, we drank well, we worked hard but it was a wonderful time enjoyed
by all. At least, that’s what they told me.
this space for more news. Anyone in plucking mood for this Sunday and Monday
please drop me a line. We have three takers thus far and room for plenty