March was wet and humid with a number of significant rain events causing some careful harvest decisions to be made around the sauvignon blanc and semillon picks. This was the year that kept on giving, however, with yields in both varieties up considerably, luckily flavours and intensity were great too. Can never have too much of a good thing, which is a nice segue into April. The weather was glorious; fine, warm and no rainfall to speak of. A classic way to finish off the reds, with the hard work in the vineyard done in early January, getting great balance into the vines and patience paying off as they ripened evenly through April. The reds were given the time to achieve full physiological maturity and tannin ripeness creating wines with great finesse and deep colour. Harvest of the reds commenced in earnest with Shiraz coming off first in early April, followed by the later reds in mid-late April. Driftwood’s last harvest was 26th April, almost a month later than usual.
In general yields were good and so was quality, marking 2017 as a year to watch for both whites and reds.
The whites built intensity of flavour and aromas supported by balanced crisp acidity with Block 20 chardonnay starting the harvest on 5th February and following eleven intense days the whites were all off and put to bed in the winery by 16th February. Flavours across all varieties were strong providing great choice when it came to making blending decisions.
There was a brief lull before the reds started knocking with Driftwood’s shiraz blocks coming in on 29th February. A slow and steady intake of reds followed, all with fantastic flavour, colour and fine powerful tannins. The final harvest was Driftwood’s newly grafted cabernet sauvignon in block 2 on 8th April, showing bucketloads of promise for the future.
This is a very exciting vintage for Driftwood Estate with plenty of potential.
There was plenty of summer storm and lightning activity throughout the south-west with Driftwood Estate receiving a refreshing 8mm of rain on 4 February. Due to Marri blossom being sporadic, drawn out and late considerable bird damage was experienced on all blocks that were not netted. Damage was throughout blocks and from a wide range of species, not just silvereyes. There was also considerable damage from kangaroos. In general, the wildlife was hungry. Exacerbating this problem, white varieties matured early and quickly resulting in good intensity and natural acid balance across chardonnay and sauvignon blanc while semillon required longer to build intensity resulting in lower acid levels at harvest.
Bird damaged fruit was identified, isolated and removed prior to harvesting all blocks. Rain in mid-March (47 mm) tempered the red harvest, giving them time to catch up with physiological ripening. It did signify the turning of the season with autumnal weather continuing and nights cooling considerably. Close monitoring of botrytis and strategic preventative measures ensured high-quality fruit harvested across the entire season. While a more challenging year due to bird pressure and late rains the quality of fruit from the 2015 Margaret River vintage was very good resulting in wines that show intense varietal fruit expression, balanced acid and in reds intense colour with fine tannin structure.
White harvest commenced 4 February and ended 27 February.
Red harvest commenced 13 March and ended 4 April.