Whilst the Margaret River Wine Region generally experienced a slighltly cooler summer, with rain and occasional humidity occuring at less than ideal times in the ripening process, Simpson Estate was largely unaffected, due principally to it being located so far north in the Region.
The failure of the marri trees to bloom this year caused significant bird pressure in the Region, with some other vineyards reporting fruit losses of over 60%.
The only climatic influence on Simpson Estate's 2019 vintage was that the picking dates were 1-2 weeks later than usual. No disease or pest issues were experienced.
As all Simpson Estate vines were fully netted, bird peck was not an issue.
As occurs every vintage, in the weeks leading up to picking, leaf plucking and bunch thinning occured.
The Chardonnay was picked on February 28, the Merlot and Malbec on March 19 and the Cabernet Sauvignon on April 4.
All fruit was hand-picked and hand-sorted, each variety showing pristine fruit, with wonderful intensity and ideal acidity.
The 2018 vintage was widely regarded as the Region's finest in 50 years. Despite the cooler weather this year, current indications are that the 2019 vintage will be of similar quality. We eagerly await barrel tasting over the months ahead.
New Tasting Half Dozen released!
As a result of the considerable interest of the many new customers over recent months, for a limited period, a Tasting Half Dozen, is available on-line. The six bottles comprise three vintages (2014, 15 and 16) of 'Jenny' Cabernet, the 2014 and 2016 'Brian' Shiraz and the 2018 'Elaine' Chardonnay. This half dozen is priced at only $198, with a 10% saving available for orders of 2 dozen or more.
We are often asked about the best means of storing wine.
Many wines will continue to improve with medium- or even long-term cellaring, but only if the conditions of that storage are appropriate. Of course, shorter-term storage of wine under non-cork closures lessens the storage burden.
The primary areas to be addressed are:
- Stability of temperature
- Temperature (range) itself
It’s often thought that storing our wine in an apparently cool, dark, place, such as ‘under the stairs’ or ‘under the house’, will serve as adequate conditions.
However, whilst the light and humidity situations may be largely addressed, other conditions are not.
To age at a steady and appropriate rate, the wines need to be stored at a relatively stable temperature, ideally no lower than 12 degrees C and preferably less than 17 degrees C. However, particularly in the case of wine under cork, it’s just as important that there is no significant fluctuation within that range.
Unless there is constant climate control (as distinct from air-conditioning), even apparently cool nooks such as under the stairs will experience wide fluctuations over the course of year. Those fluctuations will be enough to cause expansion and contraction of corks, potentially allowing air to pass the closure and the resultant oxygen contact with the wine causing its premature ageing.
Even if wine is stored at a constant temperature, the higher that is above 17 degrees will result in the wine ageing at a faster rate. So, wine stored in a constant temperature of say 21 degrees will age faster than that at say 18 degrees.
Simply air-conditioning a room is also not enough. Most residential air-con systems will struggle to maintain 16 degrees (depending on other ambient conditions, which vary significantly around Australia), but they will also de-humidify the air to an unacceptable level.
The humidity is important in that, if it is too low (with 60% typically considered a minimum), cork closures can dry and fail. If it is too high (with 80% typically used as an upper limit), there is the chance of mould damage to labels.
Our home air-cons, and also food refrigerators, are known to dry the air to less than ideal levels. Food refrigerators have also been shown to sometime produce vibrations of a level which is less than ideal for long-term storage.
To address these issues, various companies produce climate control equipment specifically designed for wine storage, which provide both low enough storage temperatures and the ideal humidity range.
As bottled wine is damaged by UV light, any storage room must be constantly free of natural light, or fitted with UV glazing.
It can be seen then that to achieve premium conditions, we need to provide our wines with a dedicated, climate-controlled room/cellar, or wine fridges (with any glazed door to be UV-proof).
We need to spend some effort in looking after our wines if they are to be stored for future enjoyment.