BERTON VINEYARDS - VINTAGE 2021
REPORT OVERVIEW The lead up to vintage 2021 was looking like one of the best seasons ever. We experienced a cool, mild spring and good soil moisture. November and December dried up with minimal disease pressure for veraison (change of colour of the grapes at the onset of ripening). By early January the harvest was looking to commence late January but due to a large amount of rain forecast we had to quickly start crushing Chardonnay on the 25th January. On the 27th January, Sauvignon Blanc commenced and Pinot Grigio later in the first week of February. Rain towards the end of January and again a couple of weeks later put some of the later ripening whites under a large amount of disease pressure. The decision was made to pick the majority of Sauvignon Blanc at a lower baume (sugar level) than anticipated. This year it has worked in our favour. Due to the slower ripening at lower temperatures, the flavours are abundant and the acidity is quite high, so the wines have a lovely flavour, acid balance and slightly lower alcohol than normal.
The interstate fruit from South Australia including Padthaway, Barossa, Eden Valley is looking spectacular, some would say the vintage of the decade! They did not get the rainfall we had in NSW but they had the cooler ripening conditions, so flavour concentration is amazing. This is evident in the Padthaway Sauvignon Blanc for the Metal Sauvignon Blanc which is looking delicious.
HIGHLIGHTS - WHITES
PINOT GRIGIO: Locally, a highlight is our Pinot Grigio which was picked early resulting in great acid with more delicate flavours.
CHARDONNAY: Cowra Chardonnay is looking really good this year. It was a good season for Cowra due to the mild conditions and the timing of the rain did not affect the earlier ripening Chardonnay. This fruit is destined for the Metal Label Chardonnay.
ROSÉ: This block was set aside for Rosé early on as for many years it was noted for its floral characteristics. Flavours of cherry and strawberry are evident, but the season of 2021 has made it spectacular, with a depth and texture while still being light and easy to drink. 2021 was a Trophy winner at the Cairns Show Wine Awards.
VERMENTINO: Now bottled and looking great! The grapes are from the Riverland region which did not have the early rain. This wine is displaying lemon sherbet and green apple on the nose, with a palate of flavours of pineapple, lime and mint. REDS SUMMARY
The disease pressure locally affected the first picked reds. Shiraz was hardest hit which, due to the timing of the rain struggled to ripen and some blocks started to develop Botrytis. For this reason, some reds made using local Shiraz may have a lower alcohol as they had to be picked early.
HIGHLIGHTS - REDS
DURIF: This was also picked at a slightly lower sugar level than previous years, the result being more blue fruit flavours and great acid, giving the wine good length.
MERLOT: Some blocks were picked with higher than normal baume and some with lower baume, so the average is around 14% but the flavours are very evident for this years vintage.
CABERNET: Locally, Cabernet was the stand out. In 2020, COVID shut down was announced just before the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest which meant that we had to pick early due to uncertainty, and flavours were quite herbaceous. The 2021 local Cabernet was not affected by the rain events as it is one of the last varieties picked. This years Cabernet has much riper flavours.
BAROSSA: One block was harvested a week earlier due to thin soils reaching baume quicker. This wine is looking spectacular and destined for Reserve Barossa Shiraz.
PADTHAWAY, MOUNT LOFTY, EDEN VALLEY: These wines are cleaning up really well with amazing concentration. They are not finished wines and remains to be seen how they will turn out as a completed wine but they are showing an amazing concentration of flavours.
Vintage 2020: Bob Berton talks vintage, drought, bushfires and Coronavirus following one of the toughest vintages yet.
White Winemaker Glen Snaidero on his wrap up of vintage 2020:
What a year full of challenges? Despite having to face a season of drought, bushfires, threat of COVID 19 and multiple rain events in the middle of harvest, remarkably 2020 will be another good vintage in terms of quality for Berton Vineyards.
As the first of our white wines enter the bottle the quality overall is looking really promising with fresh and vibrant fruit showing in all wines. Lower alcohols will be found in some varietals, particularly blends of Semillon, a result of late season rains in February and March but clean fresh fruit flavours have not been affected.
In the midst of uncertainty, highlights fortunately came in the form of some lovely parcels of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that make up our Foundstone and Metal ranges, expect intense fruit flavours and lovely acid balance in these wines. Consistent as ever, our Fiano and Vermentino vineyards have produced the goods with excellent fruit quality, wines are displaying vibrant tropical and stone fruit flavours and trademark crisp acidity. A parcel of Cowra Chardonnay, currently sitting in French oak puncheons is shining and looks to push for a presence in our range going forward.
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