In Western Australia’s Great Southern region, Harewood Estate’s winemaker James Kellie has claimed 2020 as a fantastic vintage – very strong yet also one of the earliest vintages in 20 years. The winery’s well recognised Denmark Pinot Noir and famous Rieslings were both picked three weeks ahead of schedule. The summer was dry and mild.
Normally James Kellie’s Rieslings are bottled at around 11.5% to 12.5% alcohol. This year the Rieslings are much richer – sugar levels were higher than James would normally expect in a cooler year, which has contributed 0.5-1% higher alcohol in the bottle.
Some rain after picking the Riesling and Chardonnay in mid-March bought the winery a little time and has resulted in one of James’s best Pinot Noir vintages yet. “It was a fantastic year for both yield and quality, not just Pinot Noir, but the Shiraz and Cabernet from our Frankland River vineyards have also benefited.” Unfortunately the Frankland River Riesling has experienced a different fate, in an unusual turn, no fruit was available this year for one of his four famous single vineyard wines.
In an added bonus, tiny sugar-loving birds known as Silvereyes also stayed away from the fruit thanks to the majestic Karri trees of the region which were flowering profusely. Instead of eating the ripening grapes, these little birds stayed up where they belong – dining amongst the flowers in these tall gum trees. A great example of Australian wine region ecosystems in action.
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