Vintage 2014 was a season of extremes for us all in McLaren Vale. We had great winter rains which gave us a full soil moisture profile in time for a dry and windy spring. They don’t call it windy Willunga for nothing. If we’d had a set of wind chimes on the property, we would have heard them all day and night from September to January. We had a series of very hot days in January, followed by about 45mm of rain over a 48 period in early February which slowed ripening of our red grapes right down. We had picked all of our white grapes prior to the rain ‘event’ and so we had a decent break between whites and reds, like the good old days. There was no splitting of any of the grapes left on the vine after the rain, mercifully, either. Joch’s analysis of 2014 is that it was a gentleman’s vintage – everything came in slowly and in order, not like the mad rush of 2013. Every vintage is different; truism of our time, and of our industry.
Pinot Noir was planted on our Braden’s vineyard in 1987. The young Joch Bosworth was press-ganged into action to help in this activity. These vines are nearly 30 years old, and in many ways are viticultural anomalies in the region. Joch’s parents planted Pinot to supply other wineries with sparkling base and I think there is only one other Pinot vineyard left in the Vale.
We put about 30% of the Pinot Noir through carbonic fermentation in plastic bags in old apple crates. The idea of this winemaking process (where in fact we don’t crush the berries at all) is to soften out the tannins. We processed the balance of the grapes in a fairly standard red winemaking fashion; crushed, fermented, pressed off skins into (predominantly older) oak before blending back to the ‘cab mac’ component and bottling.
The wine is light red, but nice and bright, too. This is a classic Pinot colour. The nose shows bright, pretty and fresh red fruits, and these characters are very evident on the palate. There is a delicious perfume about this wine, and it finishes nice and tight, with a lovely length. The gentle silky tannins in the Battle Pinot Noir can more than handle a spell in the fridge if the weather is warm. This wine goes very well with cheeses, chicken dishes and charcuterie.
|Vineyards||Braden's and a little from Cox's|
|Picking Date||13th and 17th February 2014|
|Bottling Date||9th December 2014|