WINEMAKER BRENDAN CARR SHARES WHAT’S HAPPENING AT XANADU
Happy 2018 to you all. I hope your festive break was full of good company, great food and even better wine!
Here in the winery, all of the 2017 Chardonnay has now been bottled as well as most of the 2016 reds. It’s been great to see these wines develop over the last year, yet it’s a relief to know they are now safely in bottle. The challenge now is to restrain ourselves so there will be some left to release to you when the time is right!
We’ve also been busy racking and returning 2017 reds in oak. It’s really great to get a ‘snapshot’ of each separate batch. Here at Xanadu we pride ourselves on maintaining each batch individually until the very last moment. This gives every vineyard the chance to realise its full potential before we decide what batch goes where. We do have some classic estate and grower vineyards which consistently make the highest grade year-in, year-out, but it’s equally as encouraging seeing a certain batch constantly improve over a successive number of vintages. Examples like this are a great testimony to the hard work the vineyard team put in to get the best out of every block. Whether it is changing pruning techniques, irrigation or nutrition regimes or just differential harvesting, the vineyard team’s management practices have a profound effect on fruit and subsequent wine quality.
It’s been really interesting to see these 2017 reds develop since the vintage; some tasted great straight after ferment whilst others are only just really hitting their straps as we speak. It’s still so young in the wine’s life, you really can’t be too critical. Each wine will follow its own natural timeline, and true quality and pedigree will always shine out in the end. The 2017 vintage is regarded as a challenging and later than usual vintage here in Margaret River, but despite that the best wines were truly made in the vineyard without overt intervention. Meticulous attention to crop levels and a fastidious canopy management and disease prevention proved to be our saviour, with some of the 2017 reds the best that I have seen in my time at Xanadu.
While we are casually sipping on reds in the cellar, the vineyard team are busy battling the flies, summer heat, inquisitive birds and the odd anxious winemaker. By remaining vigilant our tireless crew are already crafting the 2018 vintage to the absolute best of its potential.
At this stage we expect to be harvesting the first of our premium Chardonnays, a few weeks earlier than last year, with some of our Reserve Lagan vineyard and the coveted ‘Block 2’ from Stevens Road to be harvested in a few day’s time (around the 10th of Feb at the time of writing this). Yields look balanced and flavours intense, with a large proportion of ‘Hen and Chicken’ or ‘Millerandage’ in Gingin clone this year. Meanwhile, the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are a few weeks away and the reds are just finishing off their veraison. Fingers crossed the weather co-operates and 2018 vintage will go down as another feather in the cap for Margaret River!
W I N E M A K E R