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2019 Houdini Shiraz
Matured in predominantly French oak, this wine has a dark red core with a magenta rim. On the nose, the wine is fresh and playful with a mix of red/black fruits, dark chocolate, licorice, spice and subtle vanilla. Flowing onto the palate, the wine is dark and juicy from start to finish, with plums and cherries. Balanced with fresh acid, spice and chocolate, the palate rolls on evenly with fine tannins and a creamy rounded finish.
Cellaring Smidge recommends drinking this wine within the next 10 to 12 years.
Viticulture 2019 was warm to hot and dry, although the cooler nights were a godsend. With careful irrigation management and canopy retention the fruit ripened evenly and was machine harvested in pristine condition. Yields were average. This 100% Shiraz comes from a selection of premium blocks across the region of McLaren Vale from the area known as Seaview in the north to Willunga in the south. Vine age ranges from 14 to 45 years old with a mix of both single and double cordon trellis structure. Soil types include dark sand over red clay, red/brown clay/loam mottled with quartz and ironstone and brown loam over limestone.
Vinification & Maturation Fermentation was even and on average lasted 11 days with a maximum temperature of 280C. Total average time on skins was 17 days.
Upon pressing, the free run and pressings were blended to tank. After 24 hours, the wine was racked to 2-4 year old barrique and hogsheads, which were predominantly French with some American for 21 months, during which time malolactic fermentation occurred and the wines were racked twice. Prior to bottling the batches were blended and lightly fined, but not filtered.
Harvested March 2019
Bottled January 2021
What does all this rain mean for our vines?
As we head into another growing season, and with the recent confirmation that a third successive La Nina season is happening, a number of people have asked "what effect is all of this rain having?"
In the short term, if it rains on and off until mid December, and keeps the soil moisture levels at a moderate level, then things will be good, as the vines will be healthy, have good canopies and not be stressed.
In saying that, there are a number of factors that growers need to be aware of that may lead to increased disease pressure, such as the volume and timing of precipitation, along with the associated temperature. If there is sufficient rainfall to actively promote good canopies, although only enough to result in low disease pressure, then canopy management becomes more important than normal.
Excessive foliage will require a trim to maintain good airflow, or else the disease pressure will more than likely increase as the humid air becomes trapped in the canopy. Not only do dense canopies reduce airflow, they become a barrier to spray efficacy. Therefore dense untrimmed canopies would most likely lead to mildew and botrytis infections. Furthermore, timing of the rainfall is critical. If the rainfall occurs during important physiological stages, such as flowering, then the level of fruit set may be greatly reduced.
So, in short, small amounts of regular rainfall this side of Christmas can be beneficial to allow canopies to grow, whereas excessive rainfall and the bad timing of rainfall can lead to "big" canopies and escalate unwanted disease. pressure, while also impacting important physiological stages.
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