The VFC has a nose of cassis and fine brandy spirit, as well as rich, round muscatels. This is a very much an Aussie style of fortified wine, reminiscent of the Muscats from north east Victoria. It has a wonderful balanced sweetness on the finish. Warm fire, glass of this, feet up. Perfection.
Good winter and early spring rains were followed by a generally dry and mild growing season. After the leaner vintages of 2019 and 2020 it was nice to see a return to long term average crop levels. We had a slow and steady ripening period without any excessive heat spikes which has resulted in super varietal fruit intensity and balanced natural acidity.
A Mary Poppins kind of vintage; practically perfect! Joch is always loathe to comment favourably about vintage quality, for fear of jinxing things – he can be superstitious like that, but by the end of harvest, the word ‘exceptional’ was heard to come out of his mouth.
Vintage Ports are generally made using Portuegese varieties, the best-known one being Touriga Nacional. We actually already make a Vintage Fortified wine using Touriga, but we aren’t sure what possessed Joch to make one using Cabernet Sauvignon. Word has it that there is some Viognier in the mix too, something about grafting Cabernet over Viognier and not all of the grafts ‘taking’. Joch was evasive when questioned further about the Cabernet/ Viognier blend. How intriguing!
We picked the Cabernet Sauvignon (and Viognier!) significantly later than we would normally, had we been making a dry red, and then fermented it in open vessels as per the norm. The wine was then fortified with fine brandy grape spirit to stop the fermentation process, and fortify the wine, which brought the alcohol up to about 19%.
Joch then put the wine to bed for a while to mature in a Hogshead barrel (300 litres) and a Barrique (225 litres) prior to bottling.
Picking Date: 7th April 2021
Bottling Date: 2nd March 2021