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2018 a vintage to remember in the Macedon Ranges

April 17, 2018

And that’s a wrap!

The 2018 Shadowfax vintage began on February 23 with the harvest of our Pinot Gris from Geelong and finished on April 6 with the Little Hampton Pinot Noir.

The bedlam that is vintage saw many late nights at the winery, carefully hand sorting and processing some of the most concentrated grapes ever seen in the building.  And even more early starts, to pull bird nets of just minutes before pickers arrive for harvest, and to keep fruit in pristine nick.

Those six weeks of the harvest saw some of the most settled weather conditions in recent memory at Shadowfax, with virtually no rain to speak of.  So harvest dates were never picked around rain events.  All the fruit was picked at full ripeness maturity, with picking days only determined by fruit flavour ripeness; a luxury rarely seen.

The season was set up by good rains in the spring of 2017, which led to medium crop levels and left good soil moisture for the whole growing season.  Full canopies helped shade fruit at crucial times, such as the hot spell around the week of the Australian Open in late January, which coincided to veraison in our Macedon vineyards.

Some highlights of the year include the incredible concentration of flavour in the Macedon Chardonnay fruit.  Citrus blossom, grapefruit flavours with lovely minerality and poise can been seen already in these wines.

But the big one is the purity and depth of flavour seen in the Little Hampton Pinot Noir fruit (and now wine).  The perfect last few weeks of ripening around Easter saw flavours in the fruit build and blossom in the fruit with the tannins growing and developing accordingly.  Day temperatures were between 18 to 25 degrees, with the coolness of the night getting to under 10 degrees.  This allowed flavours to grow in the fruit during the day and the grapevine to rest and recover overnight.

We have a few new projects in the works from this vintage including a Gewürztraminer from Macedon and a white Minnow.  Plus we also saw the first crop of young vine Pinot Noir planted at our Little Hampton vineyard, which already shows great promise.

Cheers (we’re heading for a well earned beer),

Alister and the wine team