This wine, our flagship 2018 Kevin John has been sourced from our old chardonnay vines planted in 1976-1988. They are Gin Gin Clone, also known as the Old Wente Clone originally from UC Davis. They produce tiny yields of the best quality fruit. This year it was 2.75 tonnes per hectare of certified biodynamic, carbon negative fruit, how wonderful!
Harvest took place from 29th January until 12th February with one pick on a Moon opposite Saturn Flower day, and the remaining fruit harvested on fruit and flower days according to the biodynamic calendar. The bunches were hand harvested, whole bunch pressed and the juice racked to barrel. The parcel of fruit from the Moon Opposite Saturn Harvest was fermented in concrete egg before ageing in puncheons. Of the remaining juice, 70% was fermented in puncheons and 30% in barriques, with 50% new oak.
This stunning chardonnay went through 100% natural malolactic fermentation and spent a total of 6 months in barrel. The wine has had minimal bentonite fining and no filtering or cold stabilization, and will age well for 20 years.
It was a surprise and joy beyond our expectations to experience the 2017 harvest. I think it’s fair to say that it was challenging in both the vineyard and winery, however such conditions have delivered great rewards! Spanning three months, harvest commenced with Cullen Chardonnay on the 8th February, a Moon Opposite Saturn flower day. The last harvests being the Mangan Vineyard Malbec and Petit Verdot, the dates coinciding with the full moon and flower days on the 11th and 12th of April.
It was a classic, traditional wet winter, followed by slightly cooler than average spring and summer temperatures. This allowed for excellent canopy growth, good slow accumulation of flavour and ripeness in the fruit, maintaining well composed acidity, resulting in brilliantly balanced fruit, naturally. Excellent yields across all varieties were equally matched to quality. We were hoping for better quantities of grapes with quality to match and after three years of tiny yields we finally had the quantities we were hoping for.
The 2016-17 growing season, had above average rainfall for the calendar year, 1070mm, up 17% on average, and slightly cooler, below average temperatures for the spring and summer of the 2017 vintage.
Bud-burst dates were on par, however cold and stormy weather in October contributed to a slow start. Fine conditions in November, with below average rainfall and above average temperatures, allowed the growing season to really get going, veraison only slightly delayed.
Above average rainfall for the month of March 2017, with rain falling on over 30% of the days for the month made harvest decisions tricky. However, below average rainfall and fine weather for the month of April supplied a nice finish for the 2017 vintage. We had three moon opposite Saturn events (one each month). I would say that it was a great vintage for all varieties but in particular chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.
2017 was a vintage of great quality and quantity.
Vineyard: 100% Cullen Vineyard
Varieties: 100% Chardonnay
Harvest: From 29th January to 12th February. Fruit & Flower days.
Oak: 100% for 6 months in French oak of which 50% was new. A combination of barriques and puncheons were selected for the barrel treatment.
Colour: Shows the density of the wine being light golden straw with green tinges.Cellar: Drink now or cellar with confidence for at least 20 years.Bouquet: Sensory arrangement of white flower, honey, orange blossom, fig, dried pear lime and an incredible perfume which invites you to take your first taste!Palate: Shows poise and balance with great length the mineral acidity driving the delicious Kevin john flavours to the end of time. The flavour palate fantails onto the taste buds with an exotic explosion of lime, fig, dried pear and honeysuckle, leaving you wanting more.
When this wine was first tasted after it had been in bottle for a while, it was immediately evident that this Chardonnay is destined for a future that will place it in the upper echelon of the Kevin John Chardonnays produced thus far.