Like most wine growing regions in the UK, here in the Crouch Valley we experienced a long, dry and sunny growing season. Fruit condition was clean and there was little to no incidence of disease, which is always a victory in cool climate wine regions and a testament to the vineyard team’s skills in canopy management.
The consistently warm temperatures enabled our fruit to be picked at higher than average maturity from early September, around 10 days earlier than the 2017 harvest. In fact, the harvest begun in earnest just days after our Annual Wine Festival ! The lack of rainfall in mid-summer meant that some grape varieties experienced a low berry weight, although this was reflected in their high sugar levels.
The majority of our berries were picked with exceptionally high sugars and consequently the must did not need to be chaptilised prior to fermentation. In fact, the majority of our berries were received at 1.5% (10 Oechsle) higher potential alcohol than normal. A longer hang-time on the vine also resulted in a higher degree of wonderfully fruity and floral terpenes present in the berries. The terpenes are integral pre-cursors in allowing secondary and tertiary flavours to develop during fermentation.