*note: this was written about 6 weeks ago, I am now fully healed and sane (somewhat)
So I have managed to land myself in hospital, thanks to a collapsed RHS lung, I have been here for 8 days. The first few were OK, it was a nice post vintage rest, then I started scratching around for jobs to do like researching cover crops for winter, amphorae for next vintage, writing blogs posts for Cape Grace, writing tasting notes, buying bits and bobs on Ebay and sending bucket loads of emails…. I have now reached the tipping point, I’m losing it, and the persistent drip of my chest drain as it transports air out of my leaky lung via a water trap is driving me crazy! Pacing around my room like a caged meerkat, on the end of my 30m suction tube, ready to re-join my loved ones and the winery in Margaret River, wait I’m forgetting exactly where that is….
The intense hospital boredom has led me to this, au update on the vintage for Les Sauvages and general progress;
The 2016 vintage was difficult for some growers in the region but I am happy to report all the growers I received fruit from this year came through unscathed with fruit quality as high as the prized 2012 vintage, in my opinion.
- It started off with Chardonnay sourced from a couple of blocks in Wilyabrup, pressed and put to a single new barrel for wild ferment, again it’s a tiny production of only 25 cases! The acidity is well balanced with a tiny little bit of MLF before I stopped it with a small sulphur addition. Bi-weekly stirring for texture and complexity from here on out.
-Vermentino was the next one in, hand picked in northern Margaret River, it came in at around 10.8 Bé which was perfect for the style I am trying to attain, pressed to a mix of old oak and stainless steel for wild fermentation. It is coming along nicely with the barrels being stirred bi-weekly to build texture and complexity while the tank component is sitting on lees for this stage, I would expect to rack it within the next week or two. 100 cases of this bad boy will hit the streets in mid July under the new hand-drawn LS logo. Think lemon peel and lime brulee…. mmm
-Fumé Blanc was going to be dropped off the roster this year but after stumbling over some delicious juice from a small vineyard in southern Margaret River I decided to throw 225L into barrel and let it go wild, as of a week ago it was still ticking, if its primary of secondary ferment I’m not too sure or worried because it tastes awesome! The 2015 has sold out, ’16 re-up lands in August.
-Rosé started trickling in shortly after the arrival of the Fumé along with the first of the red grapes, Shiraz. It went straight to barrel, and wild ferment was allowed to take place, right at the end of the ferment Chenin Blanc lees were added for texture and acidity. It’s looking super sexy, bright and playful, it will be bottled in time for spring.
-The Shiraz for the “Margies” came in with probably the best condition I have ever seen, perfect fruit with intense dark fruits and white/black pepper notes. Some stems were added back to give some complexity, after 3 weeks on skins it was basket pressed and currently resides in barrel for MLF
-Last but defiantly not least is the “Le Petit Sauvage” Petit Verdot, sourced from possibly the best PV site in Wilyabrup it was hand de stemmed and loaded into a 400L Botte for fermentation and an extended maceration. Currently it’s still in barrel and going through MLF, it’s up to 30 days now the aim is to go for 60 days on skins.
The current release wines have been well received and sales are going well which is encouraging! I have recently linked up with Vineyard Stories to represent me in the SW and Vine Collective to cover all the punters direct needs; needless to say I am very excited about this and the growth in the future. In saying this I will still be only producing small batches with varietal changing year to year, have to keep things exciting right!
For now, I’m signing off! Dinner has arrived, it smells... well OK but there is defiantly no wine here and no meal time is fun without wine I might as well be having breakfast 3 times a day!