The 2011 vintage began with higher than normal levels of rain in September. October improved dramatically, starting off cool but warming up towards the end of the month. The good weather extended into November leading to excellent flowering across all varieties.

The end of December brought a heavy rain shower, but the suddenness and short duration of the event meant that most of the water ran off the steep slopes rather than saturate the ground. Impact on vine growth was minimal and it alleviated any concern about irrigating water stressed blocks.

January followed a normal weather pattern with hot and dry conditions with a few rain showers at the end of the month. The fact that these sporadic rain events were brief meant that that there was limited water uptake through the roots and no dilution of fruit flavour and complexity.
The weather pattern of warm settled conditions punctuated with brief bursts of rain continued into February and March.

Despite this pattern, the early ripening varieties (Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot) were superb and reflected a level of balance, elegance and fruit depth that belied the challenging vintage conditions. The later ripening Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc required additional effort in field sorting and fruit selection which enabled us to vinify in smaller, more concentrated cabernet fermentation batches.

The 2011 posed many challenges for our team and the superb quality of our Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot has enabled to focus this vintage exclusively on creating our very popular Merlot dominated Aeolus blend

Sean Spratt