Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker Adrian Sparks outlines the quality and elegance of the 2018 vintage…”2018 should be an absolute ripper of a vintage.”
A wonderful season, but interestingly polar opposites to what we experienced for our 2017 vintage. This year we saw a dry Winter and wet Spring, which was in contrast to 2017’s wet Winter and dry Spring. It will be interesting to see the differences in wine styles from the two different growing seasons.
Lead up to vintage saw a dry Winter and continued conditions saw an earlier than usual budburst which was a concern for frost, but fine weather ensured these events didn’t occur. The team was thrilled to receive the much needed Spring showers that gave canopies across all vineyards a real boost, in turn providing the ideal level of coverage for fruit development and protection from the warmer weather to come.
The lead up to vintage 2018 was warm and dry which resulted in us starting a week earlier than average. The first fruit to come in was our Homestead Chardonnay that came in on the 8 January, followed by our Pinot Noir and then Semillon from the Lovedale vineyard. Shiraz from the Old Paddock, Old Hill and Rosehill were next, before finishing up with our Sagrantino at the back end of February.
While there was a bit of a slow start ripeness wise, the warmer Hunter weather remedied this so crops that were lagging behind soon played catch up. The lovely long, warm days throughout vintage ensured ripeness to even out across all varieties and allowed us to pick at optimum sugar and flavour levels. This has resulted in wonderful concentration of flavours that we are already anticipating to be the base for some excellent wines.
While the tonnage seemed to be on the lighter side this year, the fruit we were pulling in was consistently of excellent quality which you are always thrilled to see as a Winemaker. The Semillon is already displaying evidence of intense flavours with rich and ripe elements complimented by softer acids. The Shiraz we’ve seen keeps true to the Hunter Valley style, wonderfully medium bodied and fruit driven with intense flavours. Our stand outs from this early stage are definitely our Lovedale Semillon along with our OP&OH and Rosehill Shiraz. It will be exciting to see how these wines develop in barrel, tank and bottle to bring this vintage to life. Overall, Vintage 2018 will go down as another classic year in Mount Pleasant and the Hunter Valley.