2013 Vintage Report - Martin Shaw and David LeMire MW
Winter / Spring rainfall - Winter rainfall for Balhannah was 70mm below the long-term average though irrigation dams were full by late July. In Mid-September rainfall virtually ceased. From October through to harvest there was only an additional 80mm recorded.
Flowering – Flowering was underway early, beginning on November 10th, and weather conditions were excellent. This meant 2013 had the potential to be a high-yielding year, and it was important to control yields to achieve ripeness and concentration.
Weather up to and including harvest - The season was warmer than usual with an occasional one and two day heat spike. The positive was the consistently cool nights that tempered the season in general. It was a year of high irrigation demand to establish adequate vine growth early in the season then to retain it through to harvest. However it was a very easy year in terms of disease risk, with no disease issues at all. Harvest began early on February 16th for clone 777 Pinot Noir, and was underway for Sauvignon Blanc on February 21st.
Stand out varieties - Some great examples of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. The caveat being that you needed good vine health to endure heat spikes and a moderate yield to allow you to pick at the optimum time. Thinning fruit to achieve our target yields was crucial, and in the case of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, some blocks were thinned twice, and some three times.
Overall quality – taking into account a warmer than average growing season and a compressed harvest window we have been pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of fruit from the 2013 Vintage. The white wines look very solid, but it may be the reds that have the edge at this early stage as they continue to impress in the winery.