VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK SIX
Welcome to the next in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...
"This week was all about Shiraz as we harvested the last fruit from the U11 Block. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Semillon have all ripened in a linear and predictable fashion this year, but Shiraz has been harder to track. Tannins ripened early but the fruit lacked intensity at that point.
By the same token, we are keen to pick in the ‘Syrah’ zone of ripeness (think savoury and spicy!) so we’re cautious not to let it hang too long. We anticipated including more stalks in the ferments this year, so the lignification (woodiness) of the stalks is also a factor to consider.
This being my first vintage at Voyager (and with plentiful excellent fruit to work with), we’ve had a bet each way – taking a few different approaches.
One portion we have deliberately picked a touch early, chasing pepper and tension in the wine. It won’t have the stuffing but that will come from elsewhere.
Another portion is all about ripe fruit sweetness against a wall of tannin, the muscle of the future blend.
Our approach with whole bunch is also multi-dimensional. We’ve got a small batch of 100% bunches, chasing carbonic maceration character and made in the full Beaujolais style.
Another bunch approach sees 50% bunches, 50% whole berries in one fermenter. A warm, quick natural ferment should maximise the power of this wine without over-extracting green stalk tannin.
Each of these will be pressed over the coming week or so. They’ll finish ferment in tank before being racked to oak for malolactic fermentation. It will be interesting to see how the different elements come together as a blend."