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After an almost text book growing season, the 2015 Vintage has wrapped up in the Clare Valley with a very strong result across the board, according to Neil Paulett, Clare Valley Winemakers Incorporated (CVWI) chairman.
Despite the fact that the vintage was almost certainly the earliest and shortest on record, both yields and quality have been above average in most circumstances, Paulett said.
A strong winter rainfall provided a great kick-start to the growing season and apart from some isolated spring frost damage in October, Paulett said the season was trouble free.
A very welcome 75mm of rain was received in the second week of January, and this certainly assisted in filling out berry size and maintaining good canopy and leaf condition which in turn really helped bring the vintage to a better-than-expected conclusion, Paulett said.
Scorching weather set the vintage in motion two to three weeks ahead of time, with operations cranking up in the first week of February, according to Paulett.
Despite the early start and the fact that the hot conditions brought most varieties into a similar ripening plane, the resultant juices and subsequent wines are showing fantastic varietal definition with good flavour, structure and excellent natural acid all the hallmarks of a vintage with great longevity potential, he said.
Yields were at least average with Riesling and Shiraz in particular proving to be most resilient in terms of productivity, Paulett said.
The heat caused some minor decline in fruit condition in Cabernet and other late season red varieties, however this really has not had a significant impact on resultant wine quality, he said. Riesling quality generally appears to be on the top end of expectations with most wine producers really happy with what they have in their tanks.
All in all, Paulett said 2015 has been another very successful vintage in the Clare Valley (the fourth in succession since the difficult 2011 Vintage) and one which may well go down as one of the best in the last decade.