2011 will go down in history as the wettest harvest period since 1974. All of South Australia’s wine regions were lashed with substantial rainfalls in spring and summer, right
through the ripening period. As luck would have it, McLaren Vale was spared the torrential falls of other regions, but was still dealt a difficult year. Our Taranga had a number of natural advantages in a wet year such as this one. Firstly, our site is very low vigour, and this results in quite small and open canopies- important in allowing airflow to dry out wet vines and reduce the risk of any mildews forming. Secondly, our soils have very low water holding capacity, and this means that if we need to get a copper or sulfur spray onto the vineyard (organic treatments for mildews), we can get the tractors on without getting bogged. And thirdly, because our crop levels are quite low, our grapes are ripe quite early, allowing us to pick without having leave the grapes out in the wet weather. We are also very glad that our ancestors planted in the hills of McLaren Vale, with its drying sea breezes! We still did suffer some mildew in a couple of blocks- we didn’t pick our Durif. However, we faired better than many and I am very happy with the resultant wines. We were very lucky to have one block of Shiraz go into the 2011 Penfolds Grange – one of only 2 growers this year.
The resultant wines are slightly lower alcohols than the last few years, and they have great tannin structures due to the cooler growing season.