The 2014 vintage will be remembered for its volatile weather early in the season. Persistent ocean ‘breezes’ coupled with above-average rain in Spring, wreaked havoc with flowering leaving some blocks in the region severely under-cropped. The dismal quantities we received on the coast stood as testament to the cruel nature of agriculture. Being dependant on the timing of flowering certain sites and varieties seemed to cop a worse deal than others. As a result of the light crops (or perhaps the burgeoning reputation of the region), fruit was in very high demand.
Summer temperatures were very slightly average with a hot spell mid-January and, throughout the season, nine days above 35°C. Despite the low crops and warm conditions, veraison was very late pushing ripening back into the cooler Autumn months and this seemed to have a positive impact on flavour profiles. Clean, healthy fruit, extensive and manageable picking windows and cold nights made for an easy harvest. Growers welcomed a delayed break in the season with the heavy rain in April holding off until post-harvest.
Despite its ups and downs, 2014 seems to have created some excellent quality wines. Looking at the resulting styles, one might expect it had been a cooler than average vintage. Whites are looking very strong with good natural acidity and lovely texture. Black pepper seems to have found its way back into a few of our Shiraz parcels and the Cabernet achieved ripe flavours before baumes became excessive or berry shrivel occurred. Not such a good year for making reds without acid additions but all in all winemakers should be pleased.