JUST WINE: Cheers to yet another corking wine season in Orange

STILL WORKING: The last fermenters of Cabernet Sauvignon will be pressed over the coming days and then vintage will be wrapped. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

STILL WORKING: The last fermenters of Cabernet Sauvignon will be pressed over the coming days and then vintage will be wrapped. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

The 2017 Vintage is all over bar the shouting.

So, what was it like out there and what are the wine prospects for the region? First, the season …

The season was set up very well with an excellent wet winter, with record rainfall across the region. Spring was slow but very good, with even budburst and excellent flowering. Once things warmed up growth was very rapid.

The heat of late January and early February meant that white harvest started in mid-February – in line with recent years.

Picking of most red varieties was delayed. Pinot Noir came in before the rain and in excellent condition. The upside of the hiatus caused by the rain was that the later red varieties enjoyed the dry, cool, slow ripening conditions of autumn with many growers picking into late April and some the first week of May.

Generally the quality was very good, with above average crop levels. Early estimates is about 8,000 tonnes.

And the wines? The whites are lead by excellent Pinot Gris and outstanding Chardonnay. Riesling picked before the rain will also be very good. The little bit of Semillon grown in the region also looked good – it dealt quite well with the heat. The interest in serious Rosé continues – expect to see some cracker Pinot Rosés in the market this side of Christmas.

While there will be very good wines made from Shiraz. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot: winemakers were gleeful as these varieties had good fruit weight, excellent colour and structure. A very nice way to finish.

Cheers.

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