For the beautiful MMAD Vineyard, and for many of us around the country, the (alleged) spring has looked a lot like an extension of winter. Every time the sun has dared to come out it’s been chased away by clouds bringing rain, closely followed by more rain. It has meant some disease pressure, but the good news is it has been too cold for mildew to spread. The silver lining has been the excellent soil moisture as we get into summer, and good growth of cover crops of lupins, peas, and cereals that improve the soil and provide pollen for beneficial insects.
As I write, though, we have perfect flowering weather, about 24°C and no wind, and the long-range forecast looks excellent. We’ve done some shoot thinning, and after flowering we’ll assess yields again and if needed do some bunch thinning.
We also will be planting some more Grenache (clone 362) and Chenin Blanc (clones Stellenbosch and 220) over the next few weeks. The Grenache will be on the highest point of the vineyard, next to the 1939 Grenache, on deep sand over ironstone, quartz, and red clay. They’ll be bush vines, planted a little closer together than the oldies. The Chenin Blanc replaces 4 rows of Cabernet Sauvignon and is on the hillside to the west of the old Grenache, facing the sea breezes from the south-west.
These new plantings will give us more clonal diversity and they reflect that what we’ve seen so far in the vineyard and in the glass which makes us more and more confident that Chenin Blanc, Grenache, and Shiraz are the right varieties for this site.
The reviews that the 2021s continue to get are also very encouraging. I personally try not to get too caught up in points, as to convey the wines’ qualities and personalities, words are required. That said, if someone had told me that between the country’s two most experienced reviewers, James Halliday and Huon Hooke, as well as up-and-coming writer and former Head Sommelier at Quay Restaurant, Shanteh Wales, we’d receive 8 scores of 95 points or more, I would have thought it fanciful. A remarkable result for the old vines and the young (ish) winemaking and viticulture team.
You might be wondering how the 2022 wines are shaping up. At this stage, they look really exciting, with low yields and a cool to mild summer giving us great intensity, freshness and flavours.
From all of us MMAD Vineyard, all the best for the last month of 2022, for Christmas, and the holidays. The La Nina years have been kind to us of late and hopefully vintage 2023 delivers another great season.
– David LeMire MW