the four summers of drought we experienced from 2017 to 2020 has a profound effect on the vineyards of nsw.
we found ourselves after several successive years of just stinking hot, dry conditions in a situation where some vineyards were down to carrying 10-20% of their normal crop levels.
then, bushfires kicked in around october 2019 and ran rampant through the state all summer.
the fires and the drought had a combined effect of destroying native animals habitats and removing both their homes and their food sources.
it was a pretty ordinary result for the country.
anyhow, these displaced animals like kangaroos, birds and bats discovered that grapes are pretty tasty and moved in to many vineyards looking for a meal and so further crop losses were endured.
we lost all of the chambourcin vineyards that we normally use to make pigs blood.
not a berry was picked.
anyhow, the summer raged on and I found myself sitting in a kiddy pool on a 45 degree day with an esky of beer at my side and a phone in my hand ringing every grape grower I knew in australia and trying to find some grapes that I could purchase to make some wines.
apart from the extraordinary crop losses, it wasn’t a bad year for quality. crops were down and there was a lot of competition for grapes in the market.
so, my endeavours led me to a vineyard in south australia that was growing a portugese grape called touriga. touriga makes a pretty robust red in its homeland, but I had a theory I could tweak it in the direction of a soft red.
this meant a colder ferment and less time on skins. it worked!
we then blended some of our old vine grenache into it that historically goes into the bushpig. that gave it aromatics and some sweetness.
a touch up of shiraz added some colour and a 1% viognier addition smoothed out the palate and put the sparkle on the blend.
the end result is a very slurpable drink young red wine.
it’s soft, approachable, aromatic and drinking beautifully right now.