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Riesling the highlight in Leasingham's fast finishing 2008 vintage

The first reports from the 2008 vintage in the Clare Valley indicate Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet wines are set to impress.

Clare’s iconic Leasingham Winery was one of the first in the region to complete an intense and compacted vintage, the earliest on record.

Leasingham Winemaker Simon Osicka said that cool weather in early summer was a major contributor to the great wine results.

‘Our fruit benefited from well timed rainfall prior to Christmas and a warm January, followed by a cooler than average February’, said Mr Osicka.

‘Riesling, in particular, maintained freshness, built flavour and retained acidity, with higher yields, full flavour and lower sugar levels than in 2007.’

‘This has resulted in flavoursome wines with juicy acidity and the distinctive Clare Valley finesse.’

Mr Osicka said that Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested in the period prior to an early March heatwave, have produced wines with great fragrance, density, full flavour and length.

‘Clare Valley Shiraz from this vintage shows fragrant blackberry, liquorice and spice characters, while the best Cabernet Sauvignon has density with flavours of cassis,’ he said.

‘Both early-harvested red varieties have great power and exhibit some of the best quality we’ve seen in years.’

Leasingham crushed 80% of its 3,983 tonne intake, including all white varieties, prior to the heatwave commencing on 5 March — during which temperatures remained above 35°C for 12 days.

Mr Osicka said Leasingham was in a favourable position to respond to the unexpected heat, taking in the balance of the harvest before 15 March — three days earlier than in 2007 and the earliest-finishing vintage at Leasingham anyone can recall.

Leasingham’s total crush was up 95% on the drought-affected 2007 vintage.

‘We are really happy with this vintage and the positive early signs for Leasingham’s wines’, said Mr Osicka.

In 2008 Leasingham will be releasing limited quantities of four exclusive wines to demonstrate individual vineyard characteristics, the 2005 Schobers Cabernet, 2006 Provis Shiraz, 2006 Schobers Shiraz and the 2008 Watervale Riesling.

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