Our new winery extension is now complete and ready for vintage 2021. Very excited to have this space to work in and it wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Victorian State Government, Regional Development Victoria and the Wine Growth Fund. The primary objectives of this expansion were to increase production capacity of Lyons Will Estate and improve the onsite wine production area.
Just over two and half years ago we purchased this small two hectare vineyard with a dream to create own wine. After much hard work we have finally bottled our first vintage! On August 15, the crew at Lyons Will Estate bottled our 2014 vintage. It was an epic day, which we couldn’t have done without the help of family and friends. Our 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir we believe are excellent examples of cool climate wine, with great acid drive, elegant complexity, and beautiful fruit flavours that demonstrate both the hard work in the vineyard and the art of winemaking.
Our winemaker, Llew Knight, has been helping us on this journey. Llew is a pioneer and winner of over 400 awards, nationally and internationally. His experience has been priceless in producing what we think is a very special drop. It has been a long thirsty wait for this wine so enjoy….we know we will!
Our Pinot Noir block is just over 2.7 acres and consists of three clonal varietals D5V12, D4V2 and 115. Hand harvested on the 6th of April, all fruit on arrival to the winery was destemmed and cold soaking by that morning. Following fermentation and two weeks on skins (with manual plunging) the fruit was pressed and transferred to French barrique oak barrels (35% new oak). After just over 15 months in barrel the wine was then bottled (lightly fined but unfiltered). The floral, confectionery nose and ruby colour of this Pinot is striking. In the mouth, this flavoursome but light drop has great structure and body. The violet flavours add a lovely introduction to this savoury drop. Our total production was just under 2300 bottles.
Our Chardonnay block is 2.3 acres in size and consists of two clonal varietals, I10V1 and I10V5. Hand harvested on the morning of April 4th, fruit was destemmed and pressed and then transferred to French barriques (35% new oak) for fermentation. Bottled after 15 months with some lighting fining and filtration, this elegant Chardonnay is worth a taste. The wine has a lovely acid drive, good balance on the palate and hints of toasted almonds, lychee and honeysuckle. Total production 1100 bottles.
Spring was wet and windy... This really affected vine flowering (the inflorescence development). Cross pollination occurs during this period and the conditions could not have been more challenging, resulting in uneven fruit set and uneven bunches.
Summer then arrived and it was hot, damn hot…and dry! More importantly it set in quick. This isn't so bad for the plants as it can reduce disease pressure but the lack of water meant that the vines started to express signs of stress quite often resulting on us managing the watering regime on nearly a daily basis. Generally we don't have to water our plants too much as they are nearly 20 years old and can hunt for their own water, but after a good two months of crisp conditions we could see that even the oldest and hardiest of plants were struggling.
Vines are as tough as old boots but they have an optimum temperature range. Too cold or too hot and the plant shuts down, this is an automated mechanism to ensure that all energy is controlled and not expelled unnecessarily. At first we thought we would have an early harvest but in fact it was about three weeks later than last year. We suspect that this was due to the vines overheating and shutting down before the fruit had a chance to mature at its normal rate...
Is this bad? Not at all. Actually we think we will get some really well developed flavors from the elongated ripening period.
In summary, small bunches, varying berry sizes, amazing flavors, great colour and fantastic aromas... Overall, we estimate most vineyards that picked will have fantastic vintages, just not much to share around...
We picked the Chardonnay on Saturday, 4th of April followed by the Pinot on the Monday. Total Pinot yield was 1.85 tonnes to the acre, picked at 22.7 brix and a TA of 6.9 g/L. In the Chardonnay we ended up with 0.7 tonnes to the acre, picked at 23.1 brix and a TA of 6.6 g/L. Our Pinot Noir yields was down 15% year on last year and the Chardonnay was down a whopping 45%.