Looking back on some of our wines
When we started Clarnette & Ludvigsen this was it, and we have come a long way in 12 years. Our First Vintage was 2007 a dry and tough year and we had lots of fun making it. When our 2009 Vintage was bottled I can remember Kym giving me some curry over this wine; it was green and wasn’t happy. Politely I told him where the grapes came from, and he soon went quiet. For quite a while I was sure he was right; Then we entered the wine in the Federation Square Wine Awards:
Best Shiraz of Show and Best Red Wine of Show, that was 2012 and we soon sold out. That was our springboard to credibility and the rest is history. For me making Shiraz from Grampians fruit is more exciting than any other region in Australia as there is so much to offer from how the cool ripening happens lifting the fresh fruit flavours out of their skins. There are many hot climate wines called Moderate climates in South Australia, here in the Grampians we can deliver site specific expression from our soils across the vineyard.
2016 Black Label Shiraz
This year we saw a very early start and finish to vintage, the earliest I have ever seen! Quite remarkably it was a blessing disguised as very low crop and subsequent rich wine. To make this wine elegant and aromatic I have inserted about 2% Viognier, it has lifted freshness when co-fermented. For a white variety in a red Wine ferment it needs to be fully ripe, golden marmalade is the ultimate character I am looking for, and it lifts the fruit characters of the Shiraz.
Andrew Toomey who grows the grapes on this property is very experienced viticulturist and was able to manage the conditions well to bring these grapes in an immaculate condition for making great wine! Of the 2016 Shiraz wines out there this is one of the most elegant and spicy lifted characters you know it is Grampians Shiraz.
All of us would have liked 25% extra yield for our customers, but that is agriculture; can be very cruel. The low crop is more in tune with poor flowering in spring when we had a wet and windy weather; whereby the caps of the flowers were stuck on, resulting in zero pollination. I usually write tasting notes for flavours and how one can describe how the wine looks and tastes. Talking now about the wine and the season means more to me than writing flowery descriptive words.
2016 Reserve RED Label
When we created this label, we hadn’t yet had any success in the show circuit, and it wasn’t until spring 2012 that we won the Federation Square wine Awards trophies. I am happy to express this wine as my best so far; simply as it is evolving as the vineyard and my barrel selection improves.
Simply, I keep the very best parcel of Shiraz for Brand new French Oak Hogsheads (300Ltr) which have a huge pedigree for maturing past 15months. Taransaud Barrels have been a part of the style since early days and I find them punchy but also treat the fruit with respect. It does however close the fruit up for a couple of years then it starts to explode.
When selecting these grapes Kym found the most balanced portion of the vineyard in the first planted block. It is about mid slope and has very consistent soil depth and is away from overhanging trees. Our biggest problem is dealing with the night visitors who hop around and feast on these delicious grapes. Kangaroos seem to think it is their right to graze on quality grapes, so we are now netting the area to reduce crop losses. Now it is a pedigree that will keep on producing for the future.
In designing this style, I have made it soft and it will be softer with more time in bottle. I hope to release in years to come with 18months more age than the black label.
This has become an “inhouse” drink, which now is finding its way to market. Karen and Donna have found this to be a most enjoyable wine at home: I simply think it is because they don’t pay for it. Recently I had the good fortune to showcase this wine @ a dinner in Great Western, and it proved to be a real winner. It still doesn’t look aged at all, and the secret is it was never over ripe fruit, gentle ageing in 1 year old oak barrels.
When picking the fruit, it is advisable to harvest the fresher fruit characters rather than the super ripe ones; like the industry did back in the 1990’s with Chardonnay. This has given the wine a huge chance to mature slowly and still be relevant to drinkers today.
I intend to keep this style at about 13.0% alcohol no more than 13.5% as it will be too flabby. Freshness is the key to success.