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Vintage Reports

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2022

Simply stunning wines! 
A vintage that ticked all the boxes at the Davey Estate.
Average to good winter rains = good spring growth.
A generally dry growing season = pristine fruit.
A generally mild summer with no heat waves = vibrant bright varietal flavours.
Although the later flowering variety yields were down, most were average = balance and easy planning.
Good communication between Dan at the winery, Rowdy’s vineyard team & Rod transporting = on time and on quantity deliveries, maximising winery efficiencies & quality.
Our second vintage with our Pellenc Optimum Harvester = best & cleanest job, increased quality.
An 8-week vintage starting on Pinot Noir for rosé February 17th, Tempranillo / early Shiraz for red from the beginning of March and all fruit in before Easter, April 13th = no pressure, with time to maximise potential in the winery.
Most importantly there were no injuries and plenty of smiles 
= well done team!
2021

 

Good winter and early spring rains were followed by a generally dry and temperate growing season. Good flowering conditions, particularly for the later ripening varieties, resulted in higher berry numbers per bunch. Canopies developed well and were balanced to the slightly above average yields. We started harvest with Pinot Noir for Rosé on the 3rd of February and finished with Touriga Nacional for red on the 8th of April. Slow and steady ripening, without excessive heat events, resulted in superb varietal fruit intensity with balanced natural acidity and fine tannin structures. The 2021 McLaren Vale vintage was simply outstanding and the resulting wines a joy to craft.

 


2020

 

Despite a very dry August a wet July in 2019 brought winter rainfall (233mm) close to the average. The relatively cool winter resulted in mid-September budburst, more in line with long term averages. Good rainfall in September was followed by a dry October and November. A record hot spring day on 20th of November (39.9 C) followed by several days of very high winds affected cultivars flowering at the time, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, reducing berry set. Hotter than average spring temperatures along with a very hot December and high evaporation meant strategic and timely early irrigation was critical in setting up vine growth and maximizing fruit quality. The upside of these conditions was very low levels of pest and disease. McLaren Vale was fortunate to be unaffected by the devastating fires across many regions.

 

The season turned on the 4th of January and the following months were cooler than average. A timely rain in early February revived vines without causing berry splitting. Harvest started mid-February with Pinot Noir for Rosé. Chardonnay and Fiano were picked by the end of the month. Starting with Tempranillo and Shiraz, reds were picked from the end of February to the end of March. Cool conditions allowed a steady and calm progression through harvest despite the challenges of Covid 19 restrictions.

Our reliable region and resources, including our very talented vineyard and winery teams, have resulted in 2020 Shingleback wines of excellent quality and generally only slightly lower quantity.


2019

 

A dry winter required early strategic supplementary irrigation on the Davey Estate to assist with bud burst and early canopy growth. Flowering and berry set were good and crops appeared slightly above average. A hail event and strong winds on the 21st of November damaged newly formed bunches particularly on the western side of vines. Damaged bunches shriveled off and vines recovered but crop levels were reduced. Warm dry weather continued through the season resulting in low disease pressure.

Summer was generally hot with a record high of 46.6˚C occurring. Vines weathered this surprisingly well with minimal damage to fruit. Although on average yields ended up down, quality was good with strong varietal flavours and structural elements. Gentle working of the skins in the winery tempered the naturally high fruit tannins of the vintage.

Harvest commenced in the second week of February with Pinot Noir for Rosé and by the end of the month the Tempranillo and early Shiraz for red was fermenting. Picking finished on the 29th of March with a young Touriga Nacional block.

2018

 

After a dry start to winter we had good rainfall, ending up 10% above the long term averages, flushing and filling soil profiles to saturation. Although a mid-September bud burst was later than recent vintages it was in line with long term averages. Spring rainfall was well below average, resulting in low disease pressure. Average day and night spring temperatures were close to record highs, resulting in steady vine shoot growth, catching up some ground after the later bud burst. A confined hail event in late October caused very minor damage to our small Kitchen Garden Mataro block but the Davey Estate vineyard was unaffected. Minor pitting of shoots in the Mataro healed quickly with no detriment to quality.

We had 10mm of rain on December 1st and another 15 mm on December 15th, freshening the vines during early berry development. With only 6 mm of rain in January and 5 mm in February summer rainfall ended up only two thirds of the average. Mean maximum and minimum summer temperatures were generally 1 to 2 degrees higher than average. The second half of January saw a record 13 consecutive days above 30 degrees Celsius resulting in a mean January temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius. Drier and warmer than average conditions continued through March and April resulting in a disease free and orderly progression to vintage, allowing time for the potential of each batch of grapes to be maximised in the winery.

Harvest started with Semillon on February 6th and our McLaren Vale white and rosé blocks were all off by February 19th when the first Davey Estate Shiraz was picked. Shiraz harvest, other than a small parcel for fortified, was completed on March 24th and Cabernet Sauvignon soon after on March 29th, just before Easter. Mataro, the last of the Grenache and Shiraz for fortification were harvested after Easter with all fruit in by April 5th.

The 2018 white and rosé wines are richly flavoured with good length. The reds are full bodied and deeply coloured, showing intense fruit flavour with big round chewy tannins. Simply an outstanding vintage with the promise to be rated as one of the great years for McLaren Vale.


2017

 

Healthy soaking winter rains continued through spring and into early summer setting up good canopies without the need of supplementary irrigation. Wet soils and a cool start to spring resulted in flowering being 3 weeks later than in the previous years. Good fruitfulness of the vines and higher bunch weights meant crop levels were generally above average. Careful canopy management and a timely stop to the rains in mid-January minimised disease pressure. The dry & generally mild February and March were followed by a warmer than average April, allowing a long, slow ripening period and an orderly progression to harvest.

Semillon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for Rosé, mostly harvested around the first week of March, all showed vibrant cool climate flavours and structural minerality. A burst of heat gave the reds a push allowing us to start filling the fermenters towards mid-March. The early red fruit was perfumed and spicy with excellent length. As vintage progressed fruit weight increased and flavours moved into darker berry profiles. Our palette of Shiraz wines are spicy and aromatic with good concentration and length. Cabernets are very varietal with blackcurrant and leafy notes. The Shingleback harvest finished with Mataro picked after Easter on the 18th of April, timed nicely before rains that fell shortly after.


2016

 

Winter in 2015 was relatively dry and although totals ended up near normal, there were few heavy soaking rains. Spring was exceptionally dry, resulting in low disease pressure but requiring early irrigation to ensure balanced canopies. October and December were hot and November warm and ideal for flowering and fruit set. Crop levels were the best for several years but generally just a return to more balanced and sustainable levels. An early bud burst and the dry warm conditions always meant vintage was going to be early. Even with bigger crops vintage started around the same time as 2015’s record early start. We picked Semillon from the Davey Estate Vineyard on January 29 and had completed our McLaren Vale Chardonnay by February 8 and Pinot Noir and Shiraz for Rosé on February 10. Timely rain events in early February refreshed the vines, greatly reducing the stresses of the dry season, with no adverse disease effects except for in some tighter bunch Grenache blocks. February days were mild and the nights cool, slowing down sugar accumulation and extending the ripening period greatly, enhancing flavour, structure and colour development. Reds started with Shiraz on February 11 and the last of the Davey Estate Shiraz was picked on March 11. The last of the Cabernet and the Mataro were picked on March 24. The early picked wines show bright and fragrant fruit at balanced alcohol levels. Intensity, weight and depth of colour just kept increasing as the harvest progressed, without any over ripe characters, resulting in simply spectacular wines across all varieties.


2015

Vintages over the last few years have tended to be early but 2015 sets a new record for McLaren Vale and South Australia. Good early rainfall from April to July in 2014 replenished the soil profile setting up a strong bud burst. From late July dry warm conditions prevailed and continued through the growing season. Average temperatures for August through November were significantly above average. Not surprisingly bud burst was early and vines grew quickly and strongly, setting up pristinely clean canopies. December and January were 0.8 and 1.7 degrees Celsius cooler than the long term mean, allowing a steady development of bunches and ideal conditions for veraison and the development of the precursors that are the colour, tannin and flavour that make great wine. The only significant rainfall in the growing season was 25 mm on the 13th of January and although this caused some initial apprehension it just freshened the vines and focused their energy on the bunches they were nursing. Less than 1 mm of rain fell thereafter through to March which, combined with warmer temperatures in February, resulted in an organised but rapid harvest.

 

The Chardonnay harvest started on the 28th of January, a new record for the Davey Estate by at least a week. The first Shiraz pick was on the 12th of February and harvest was completed on the 12th of March with Mataro. Flavours and colours across the board were excellent. 


2014

Harvest started early on February 5 with the McLaren Vale whites being completed before the rain on the 13th of February. McLaren Vale again proved why it is the most reliable wine grape district in the world with less than 50mm of rain falling at the Davey Estate, compared to more than 125mm north of Adelaide.

2013


A little supplementary drip irrigation was needed from around the New Year to help the vines through the hotter weather and ensure the berries achieved the varietal flavours, ripe tannins and balanced acidity that are the precursors of good wine.


2012


We picked our first white, Semillon, on February 8th and were well into Shiraz by late February. Sugar levels climbed quickly and in a very timely fashion nature delivered 60mm of rain on the last day of the month. Luckily, canopies dried quickly and there was no splitting.


2011


Good winter rainfall refreshed the soil and delayed bud burst. Balanced and attentive hand pruning set up open canopies with the right crop levels for the cooler year that unfolded. Rain events meant that timely decisions and precise application of protective strategies were essential.


2010

We picked our first white, Semillon, on February 8th and were well into Shiraz by late February. Sugar levels climbed quickly and in a very timely fashion nature delivered 60mm of rain on the last day of the month. Luckily, canopies dried quickly and there was no splitting.


2009


Soils held moderate moisture levels from winter in the lead up to the 2009 vintage. Some early irrigation was required to compensate for ongoing drought conditions. Vine canopies had moderate shoot growth with good internode spacing, negating any requirement for summer trimming.


2008


Good winter rainfalls, followed by ideal spring and summer conditions created strong, healthy canopies in balance with the slightly above average yields. The whites ripened early with intense fruit flavours and balanced acidity. Harvesting commenced in mid February and was completed over the following 10 days.


2007


The 2007 vintage will be remembered for the driest winter and spring on record. Early recognition of the severity of the drought triggered supplementary irrigation as early as bud swell. Unlike many other areas, McLaren Vale was relatively unaffected by frost.


2006


Good spring rains created strong canopies that helped to see the grapes through some hot January weather. The burst of heat reduced vigour and led to slow, even ripening. The result was the early development of rich, vibrant varietal flavour.


2005


A cool summer and perfect dry, warm autumn in 2005 will possibly see it be recognised as one of South Australia’s greatest vintages. All varieties fully ripened with intense fruit flavours and balanced natural acidity. The reds were vibrant in colour with mature, textured tannins.


2004


The three vintages preceding 2004 were climatically very different: 2001 – hot, 2002 – cool and 2003 – dry. The 2004 growing season was climatically normal with good spring growth and a long, dry autumn. Ripening was slightly later than usual with whites being picked in mid-March and reds in late March to late April.


2003


Low winter rainfall and a dry spring reduced yields and provided concentrated small berry fruit. The vineyard teams dedicated attention to detail and perfectly time supplementary irrigation assisted the vines to produce fruit with outstanding colour and depth of flavour.


2002


Harvesting finished in mid April after a long, cool, dry season. These mild conditions produced intensely coloured reds, complex, ripe berry fruit flavours and velvety tannin structures.