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Relaxed vintage in the Central Ranges
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Windowrie Wines, who source grapes from 100 miles of their Cowra winery, are expecting one of the best vintages on record.
With fruit coming into the winery from Orange through Cowra and on to Hilltops, Windowrie’s Jason O’Dea is in a perfect position to gauge the quality of the vintage from NSW’s Central Ranges.
“It is all coming together,” said Jason, “this is the my first vintage were all the ‘ducks are in a row’. It certainly takes a lot of the stress out of vintage.”
Windowrie winemaker, Anthony D’Onise agrees, “the entire region is looking at an awesome vintage. 95 per cent of the whites are in from Hilltops and Cowra and are in pristine condition. We’re looking to start picking sauvignon blanc from Orange in the next week or so. With the warm weather the ripeness levels have been near perfect.
“Being one of the only wineries taking grapes from a number of NSW regions we don’t usually have the luxury of picking when we want. This year has been allowed us to do just that, and the all of the fruit from each region is fantastic.
“It has made for an enjoyable vintage. The dry weather means we are sleeping well and only looking at the weather forecast once a day. It just makes for a great vintage when your hand is not being forced by Mother-Nature.
“With the weather on our side for a change, we are able to let the fruit hang a little longer to ensure we have ripe tannin and pure varietal fruit expression.”
In Cowra, Shiraz once again looks to be the standout. The warm dry finish has allowed the vines to ripen slowly with flavours more intense than even the driest of vintages during the drought. “It’s a great follow up to the Shiraz that won the NSW Wine of the Year,” commented Jason.
Picpul Blanc will be the last white variety to harvest and it is maturing well on the vine. “It is amazing how it is holding it’s acid balance,” commented Anthony. “This is an exciting new variety, not only for the Central Ranges, but for Australia.”
It was a tough year for organics in the region (over 60 per cent of the brands from Cowra are now certified organic) with high spring rain leaving growers in the region open to fungus issues. “Most of the growers have managed the conditions well and countered any real issues,” said Jason.
Windowrie patriarch, David O’Dea, commented that he could not remember a more relaxed vintage at Windowrie. “After 30 odd vintages its nice to have one which is a bit more relaxed. It’s a testament to the team we have here that everything is progressing so well this year.”