2018 Vintage Report
James' 2018 McLaren Vale & Kuitpo Vintage Report:
As the newly juiced wine is being put into barrels to begin maturation, we can now pass comment on the season.
The vintage in McLaren Vale is being touted as producing wine of excellent quality. The collective "we", the McLaren Vale grape and wine community, live and breathe the “big three” red varieties (Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon). The big three combined are around 80% of our wine production. Each of these were suited by the season.
Fruit around Kuitpo and Hope Forest (technically in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region with a mix of grapes that includes cooler climate varieties like Pinot Noir) also when very smoothly.
At this early point we are scoring the vintage between 8/10 and near perfect. The best sites are going to be as good as our region produces.
The wine quality was set up by having a good wet season in 2017 which mean healthy vines, but a dry season this year, which prevented excessive vigour or disease problems.
Summer and early Autumn were unusually dry, there was as little as 10mm of rain from 1st of January to picking in the middle of March. Fortunately McLaren Vale growers have access to multiple water sources, including recycled water, which allows for timely irrigation - and sites in Kuitpo thrive in drier seasons.
Favourable summer ripening weather with daytime temperatures in the high twenties, with cool nights, led to fruit in great condition at picking. The good condition of fruit going into the winery allowed winemakers the freedom to take time and give full care in the winery.
Crop yields were 15-20% down on Vintage 2017 which was a bumper crop compared to average. The yields recorded this year are in line with the averages picked from 2010 to 2016.