Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...

Tim's Ravings

Posted by Tim Stevens on

Vintage of the century?

Vintage at Huntington Estate. Photo: Amber HooperEvery vintage I have a bet with a mate to see who can make a public declaration that this one will be vintage of the century.

It’s a ritual begun by the winemakers of the Hunter Valley decades ago. Their wet and warm climate means every other vintage is, invariably, pretty ordinary. Getting in front of this challenge, they declare each and every vintage the best.

Marketing problem solved.

These days technological advances in the vineyard have allowed us all to improve our odds of at least reaching acceptable quality, allowing both marketers and winemakers to be more honest.

But in 2017, I can happily and genuinely declare a truly great vintage.

The reason for 2017’s excellence began 12 months ago. Great rains last winter ensured a full soil-moisture profile when the near 50 year old vines began growing in Spring. It was also cool, so our wise and happy old vines were not under pressure to grow quickly.

Consistent weather until late Summer also helped the vines gain enough strength to handle a couple of savage heatwaves just before ripening, which was marked by dry conditions ideal to stave-off  any fungal diseases.

The fruit was picked fully ripe in terms of sugar and tannins, with almost all of the vineyard harvested before rains hit in April. The only fruit left at this time was our Late Harvest Semillon which was hit hard by botrytis bunch rot. Bad? No. Seriously good! This is the only wine that benefits from such rot and the resulting wine is already tasting amazing.

While this latter wine is undoubtedly the highlight of the vintage, our white wines from 2017 will be elegant and flavoursome, and the reds will be long-livers, with perfect tannin structures, excellent mid-palates and wonderful fruit vibrancy.

If I was writing a recipe for an ideal vintage the 2017 year would be the model. Throw in our remarkable old vines, and a very talented vineyard and winemaking team and this truly was the vintage of the century. Bet won.

Tim Stevens,

Owner-Chief Winemaker, Huntington Estate

Photo: Amber Hooper

View Comments

Vintage 2017 - the story so far...

In a word, wet. Another word, bloody. Bloody wet sums it up nicely actually.The vines are as happy as pigs in muck, the Vineyard team not so much...With over 50 times more winter rain than last year so far, and more days of rain than not, pruning was an absolute nightmare to finish. There is [...]

Read More »

Vintage Report 2016

Happy vines make happy wine. And happy wines make a happy winemaker.So it was with the 2016 Vintage just finished.In one of my recent Ravings I may have given the wrong impression that I wasn’t happy when I moaned about all of the hurdles in front of us poor vignerons; from droughts to floods, frosts to heatwaves. [...]

Read More »

​Vignerons do not have a natural inclination towards optimism.

Vignerons do not have a natural inclination towards optimism, and I’ll tell you why.It starts in winter each when pruners brave freezing cold and bitter winds to prune the dormant vines. It takes many months and is always a race to beat Spring’s wake-up call for the sleeping vineThen comes budburst, when the vine starts [...]

Read More »

Tim's Raving

My predecessor Bob Roberts once told me that he has never seen two vintages even vaguely the same. We were talking not just about the actual weather conditions but also the tastes of the wine. From my limited perspective in Mudgee, he is dead right. The red wine vintages from 1997 to 2007 were, respectively; elegant, [...]

Read More »