Cool Climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Bended Knee Vineyard

Earlier Happenings...

Anyone with a small vineyard needs to be multi-skilled and able to juggle a number of tasks at one time. It also has its compensations. These pages track the many events in the life of the vineyard, here are some earlier weeks

8 April 2007 - VINTAGE!


Here we are a week after picking and almost recovered. The wines are all behaving themselves and fermenting away - the chardonnay in barrels and the pinot in three different bins. The yields were slightly less than we bargained on but the quality outstanding. The low yields are a direct result of the drought and the influence on fruit set; we also fruit thinned fairly heavily to balance out the effect of less vigorous growth on the vines (there is only so much a few leaves can do).


The small quantities creates a few problems in the winery. I like to build some complexity by treating individual batches a little differently - but how to do this with less fruit? I had already decided on trialing different yeasts for the chardonnay which we could still do, but we wont get the full effect after we combine the barrels.


Only 1.5 tonnes of Pinot, so we divided it three ways to allow for more variation, less convenient than if we had a one tonne parcel but much more interesting! We had enough of the 114 clone to keep separate for the first time; the fruit from the close planted section was added to this batch as there was not enough to ferment by itself. Two different commercial yeasts and a wild ferment that is already finished. This one took off and was quite warm (30C) for such a small volume of fruit. It smells great, the fruit no longer obvious but lots of sweaty, savoury characters.


The colour this year is sensational, a contrast to last year but this seems a seasonal thing. A comparison amongst local Vignerons indicates the 2006 Pinots seem to have less intense colour than usual but nobody is really sure why. This of course is no reflection on the structure and palate of the wines.


The picking went ahead without a hitch, and only one band aid required. The gamble about timing paid off (see 29 March 2007) with the fruit ripe and in great condition. All the logistics were in place, and a huge thank you to the 30 plus (volunteer) pickers who arrived as scheduled.


The last two rows proved the most difficult of the day as these were picked AFTER lunch. Lunch itself was a feast, with some great food from Rob and Marg (Marmelo Kitchen 5332 3245) who helped with catering. We took a bit of a risk assembling the brand new kettle style BBQ the night before and using it for the first time to roast all the meats - it all worked. The pork recipe was a big hit, this was something I have recently evolved based on recipes from Jamie Oliver (Naked Chef, p.109) and the spice mixes and techniques of Teague Ezard (Contemporary Australian Food). The recipe is reproduced in the new recipe section.


Anyway, enough for now. I need to go hand plunge some wines. The aromas walking into the winery are just sensational!