Vintage 2012 Report
Prior to the beginning of harvest in the Orange region, southern NSW received quite a bit of rain and in some cases major flooding. Reports circulated and continue to do so that NSW wine regions in general were a wash-out. Many of the reports were based on assumptions from people not actually in the so-called ‘affected regions’. The story on the ground is rather different. The Orange region was on the northern fringe of this weather pattern. And while we did not escape the rain entirely, we certainly escaped the flooding entirely – that’s the advantage of growing grapes on the side of a mountain.
Admittedly, at the beginning of March, after the rain, some vignerons nerves were on a knife edge. However, we learnt some valuable viticultural lessons in the cool and wet 2011 vintage. Therefore, were in a great position to take full advantage of the wonderful sunny and dry weather that followed in the second half of March through to mid-April. This stretch of good weather was better than any experienced through the summer. In general, the grapes across most varieties have ripened fully with minimal disease.
It has been a strange vintage but aren’t they all. I am not about to declare it the vintage of the century, nor even the decade. A cool summer with regular rainfall has made it a vintage of patience and seizing the opportunity when it arises to pick grapes in their prime. As a generalisation quality is pretty solid, no doubt helped by lower than average yields and a wonderful indian summer. The potential for sparkling wine is fantastic. Typically, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling look very promising. Reds are still fermenting and being pressed but colour and ripe flavours are looking great. Site selection and having planted the right variety in the right place will be an important quality factor. The potential is very good for those that have got those factors right.
There may be some distant pundits who will too easily dismiss another tricky vintage. This would be a terrible mistake. It could have easily all gone to pot but it didn’t. I’ll look forward to taking the 2012 wines through maturation to the bottle.
This report was originally published in WBM Magazine - May 2012