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2003 Vintage Report

2003 VINTAGE REPORT

Background:
The vineyard is situated near Warren, Central NSW, Australia. The McLaughlin family has pioneered the region, by planting the first and only vineyard in the Canonbah area on their heritage sheep station. Shane McLaughlin (Vigneron) is passionate about running the vineyard on a biodynamic basis i.e. chemical free – an endeavor made easier by the isolation from other vineyards and the warm dry climate.

General:
The 2003 vintage was dry to say the least, with NSW facing the most extreme and widespread drought in 100 years. Whilst this has been tough for the family’s sheep stud business – the vineyard has thrived. The state of the art drip irrigation system fed by the Duck creek maintained a constant source of water throughout the season. Our continued commitment to low yields through minima use of fertilizers and efficient irrigation practices provided a very balanced canopy to berry ratio. Due to the drought our yields were particularly low – under 2 tonnes/acre with the reds. The warm sunny days of the ripening period resulted in a fantastic crop this year – with our white grapes being characterized by their voluptuous, juiciness and the reds by their smaller size and almost currant appearance. A combination of the increased maturity of the vines and this years favourable drought conditions, has delivered our most exciting vintage on record – with both the reds and the whites displaying a fullness of flavour and in the case of the reds, intensity of colour.

Varietal reports are as follows: Shiraz, Merlot, Semillon, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Mourvedre.

VARIETY – SHIRAZ
Consistently demonstrating to be our flagship variety. Our dry growing conditions and unique sandy soils are proving to be ideal. The season was characterized by small berries creating an intense deep inky colour. Block 2 displayed the most intense character and was left to harvested last. This will be the juice set aside for the Canonbah Bridge Drought Reserve line.
Trellis system: Australian Sprawl
Harvest date: 18th, 19th, 20th January 2003. Approx. 6 weeks early as a result of faster maturation due to the drought
Yield/acre: 1.9 tonnes. We have achieved desired intensity of colour and fullness of flavour through minimal inputs.
Picking method: Over night machine picking
Baume: 14.25
pH: 3.49

VARIETY – MERLOT
The Merlot was picked last after the Shiraz, with less colour intensity. The juice showed good concentration with a deep mulberry colour generated by the thick skins. This variety proved very hard to pick, breaking 6 harvest rods, trying to shake the stubborn little berries off.
Trellis System: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 21st January 2003. Approx. 6 weeks early due to the drought.
Yield/acre: 2.2 tonnes. Post crush, the juice demonstrated fresh berry and mulberry characters with slight detection of herbaceous traces.
Picking method: Over night machine picking
Baume: 14.5
pH: 3.6

VARIETY – SEMILLON
Good canopy leaf cover resulted in this typically fragile skinned variety, demonstrating voluptuous juicy berries and good bunch sizes. The post crush juice displayed the usual lemon and lime flavours with more of a fresh green apple presence.
Trellis System: High Wire Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 10th, 13th, 14th January 2003. Approx. 2 weeks early as a result of faster maturation due to the drought
Yield/acre: 3.5 tonnes
Picking method: Early morning hand picking
Baume: 11.7
pH: 3.15

VARIETY – VERDELHO
This Portuguese varietal showed full ripeness displaying more tropical spicy notes rather than the typically expected citrus characters. This full flavour profile suggests it will add an interesting spicy fruit presence to the Chardonnay.
Trellis system: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 15th January 2003. Approx. 2 weeks early than usual.
Yield/acre: 2.8 tonnes.
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 13.5
pH: 3.45

VARIETY – SAUVIGNON BLANC
The Sauvignon Blanc displayed more green asparagus grassy notes then a typical season, which is usually characterised by topical fruits.
Trellis System: Smart-Dyson System
Harvest date: 15th February, the Sauvignon Blanc was harvested with lower baume than expected, due to early flavour ripening.
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 12.0
pH: 3.2

VARIETY – CHARDONNAY
The Chardonnay displayed ripe peach characters with some citrus
Trellis System: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Harvest date: 12th February, similar to Shiraz, Chardonnay enjoys the hot dry drought conditions and was unable to reach full ripeness.
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 13.5
pH: 3.35

VARIETY – GRENACHE
The fruit displayed soft plum characters, with even some peppery notes evident at the post crush stage.
Trellis System: Bush vine
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 13.5
pH: 3.5

VARIETY – MOURVEDRE
The post crush fruit exhibited interesting earthy characters typical of the variety
Trellis System: Australian Sprawl
Yield/acre: 3 tonnes
Picking method: Night machine picking
Baume: 13.5
pH: 3.55

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