The growing season started dry and continued that way, with 2019 one of the driest years on record. Flowering was upset by frosts in mid October, and again throughout November with strong winds and extreme heat, Not surprisingly, the combination of all these weather extremes meant the vines set below average bunch size and the vines produced a crop well below the long term district average. But what nature took away in quantity, was more than compensated for in quality with below average temperatures post veraison enabled our vineyards to slowly ripen the crop, with flavour and phenological ripening keeping pace with sugar development. The overall quality of the 2020 vintage was exceptional.
Lightning does strikes twice. Firstly to the lone tree that sits amongst our vines, and secondly in the form of our jazzy lightning bolts emblazoned across the label of our new Roussanne. Our newest offering (I have been begging John to plant this variety for as long as I can remember), and I think it’s a perfect match for the Barossa’s western ridge. Prone to sunburn, the grape skins often take on a rusty colour, much like a Lienert left out in the sun too long.
Applying a keep it simple approach, this first release achieves what we’re aiming for as we start on our Roussanne journey. (I could bang on about how the western ridge is perfectly suited to Roussanne due to the unique terroir and success of other Rhone varietals in the area, but that would be bullshit as this wine represents but a first step!)
The first white wine to come off the property (if you ignore the whopping 30 bottles of Roussanne that were produced in 2019), the fruit was harvested before the reds in the cool of night on Valentine’s Day, then lightly pressed and fermented with free run and pressings together in stainless steel.
The wine was racked to 2/3 old French oak barrels (for lees contact, giving complexity) and 1/3 to stainless steel (for freshness) for approximately 10 months prior to bottling. The wine underwent a partial Malolactic fermentation leaving some residual malic acid which gives a lovely fresh appley character.
Winemaker’s tasting note
“Aromas of fresh dew melon, pear, mild spice and herbal tea caress the nose with a saline mineral edge to add depth and moreishness. A creamy texture in the mouth acquired through subtle use of lees contact from barrel maturation is balanced by a clean and zippy acid line and characters of green apple, mineral and subtle spice. This is summer time in a glass, best to drink by a pool or beach or at your cousin’s 21st, but maybe not through a beer bong. Trust me, before you know it you’ll need to refill your glass.”
For those playing at home these simple notes took 30 minutes to write – comprising approximately 5 minutes of actual writing and 25 minutes enjoying 2 glasses of this wonderful grape based beverage.
James Lienert, December 2020