This is a brief account of the 2017 vintage straight from the producers. Some are technical, some are more musings on their personal feelings on quality. The hope is that both should be valuable and of interest.
Franco D’Anna (Hoddles Creek Estate)
"The kids could have made good wine in 2015 and it’s the same in 2017. Yields are down a little, probably about 25%, but the quality will definitely make up for it. The wines already look great, you can tell in how early they come together. The 2015’s looked great very early on and the 2017’s are looking the same."
David Bicknell (Oakridge, Bicknell FC)
"The 2017 season was simply outstanding. I think the reds in particular that we’ve got in the cellar are of the highest quality I’ve seen in my time at Oakridge. They should be some of our best ever wines by the time they are released, that is of course, assuming we don’t bugger them up!"
Tessa Brown (Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown)
"Nuts and bolts as follows:
- much higher than average winter and early spring rainfall in Beechworth.
- a cold and long winter, delaying budburst more to dates from the 80s and early 90s, setting up a moderate to later harvest from the beginning.
- fairly frequent spring rainfall, keeping us on our toes with preventative sprays.
- a late but pretty solid flowering, although Sangiovese had very poor set, lowering crops for that variety.
- The growing season settled down and became quite benign after New Years, allowing us to stretch preventative sprays.
- a quite warm January and February but a late veraison because of the cold early spring, meaning most people harvested in March and April, instead of February and early March.
- the weather stayed pretty stable through harvest, meaning physical fruit quality is top notch.
- quite a spread of time of harvest across varieties, so a long stretched out vintage.
- high natural acidity, cooler flavours. Ripe flavours at low baumes. Fruit at 11.5 baume tasting like 12.5 baume.
I think what we will find is that wines from this year will stand out in verticals, for being late and cool against the solid but warmer years of 13, 14, 15, 16. I think warmer VIC and SA regions will show cooler wine characters. But I also think the potential quality is bloody stellar, if you like natural structure and not hugely ripe-tasting fruit. Which is us to a tee."
Barney Flanders (Garagiste)
"A cool summer, with a perfect month of March. Long, slow ripening not rushed by the sun. Detailed wines with great perfume. Pinot Noir might have its nose in front of Chardonnay in terms of quality. Yields were reduced by the cool weather in November, but amazing small bunches and berries. No grape was harmed in the moderate consumption of frothy ales!!!"
Simon Killeen (Simao & Co.)
"This year was the first year I was under my own roof with all my own things and all my tanks. It was really a really nice feeling! I have moved into a shed in the main street of Rutherglen to what I’ve called a “Rural Urban Winery”. The season up here was banging; a wet, cold winter and spring lead to a mild/warm (cooler than normal) summer and the weather cooled off into autumn for a drawn out long season. There are some who have complained about not getting things ripe, but thankfully I didn't have that problem. The only whinge I have is that crows decimated my Tempranillo crop by about 60%. I got some, albeit not much. Glenrowan Shiraz looks the pick this vintage for me, with the Ugni looking smart too. I finally played with some full barrel ferment, full Malo Sauv Blanc too and my VP (Vintage Fortified) batches are showing promise at this early stage (but maybe not as unreal as the 16 VP! That wine is going to be The Tits! and released in winter.)"
Eleana Anderson (Mayford Wines, Porepunkah)
"Vintage 2017 in Porepunkah was pure joy. Good winter and spring rains in 2016 were followed by a mild summer and autumn pattern without extreme temperatures. Slow, gradual ripening saw harvest dates pushed back 2-3 weeks and enabled seed maturation and cane lignification at much lower sugar levels. The result being intensely flavoured and super elegant wines with incredible structure. I would go so far as to say that vintage 2017 has been our best to date."
Ben Mullen (Clyde Park)
"2017 is an exciting vintage for us here at Clyde Park. Excellent ripening conditions with warm days and cold nights which resulted in great acidity, lower sugars with amazing flavour. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz all performed well, having great chemistry and beautiful bright aromatics, lots of tension on the palate and all round drinkable delicious wines. The challenge this year was the fact that I had to wait to pick – which was hard being my first harvest here I wanted to crack into it!"
Tennille Chalmers (Chalmers)
"In our experience, 2017 was a great vintage for grape and wine quality. Cool Spring with plenty of Spring rain and a mild Summer made for a late start and therefore late vintage as with many other regions across Australia. These conditions gave higher than average yields with no compromise on quality. We found full flavour ripeness at a lower baume (sugar level) this vintage compared to most years, which results in lower alcohol wines and great natural acidity. These characters naturally coming from vintage conditions are something that we desire and appreciate."