29/03/2005 - 22:00

WINE NEWS– vintage 2005

29/03/2005 - 22:00

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The 2005 vintage will be “one of distinction” in the Franklin River region, according to Alkoomi wines owner Merv Lange.

WINE NEWS– vintage 2005

The 2005 vintage will be “one of distinction” in the Franklin River region, according to Alkoomi wines owner Merv Lange.

Vintage has come 10 days early at one of the state’s most southern vineyards. The whites have just been picked at Alkoomi with the reds still needing a few weeks but already Mr Lange, celebrating his 30th vintage, is predicting a 20 per cent drop in quantity from last year. Nveertheless. quality in the emerging wine subregion is looking “absolutely excellent”, he says.

Franklin River escaped the brunt of late rain felt in Margaret River and surrounding areas. This capped off an excellent growing season leading up to the present vintage, dominated by a very dry spring.

“Summer has been quite cool but we had a late hot change, which is good news for the reds – it will give them a last chance to continue ripening,” Mr Lange says.

From early sampling the chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and semillon are showing great promise while the riesling, which carries big hopes in Franklin River, is looking broader, full flavoured and very tropical before the mineral acidity comes through.

While very confident of this year’s whites, Mr Lange explains that: “The malbec and shiraz that were handpicked just before Easter are looking terrific as well, but its just a little too early.”

What 30 vintages at Alkoomi have proved to Mr Lange is that the issue of water will soon be of the most vital importance to the state’s wine industry.

“There is no doubt that rainfall is getting less and less every year,” he says.

“You only have to look at the situation in Perth’s dams to see what is happening. We have to be conscious of that and that is why we are slowly dropping our cropping levels.”

Like many other vignerons in the region, Mr Lange has seen small berries come in this vintage as a result of the dry lead-up to harvest.

But expecting more intense varietal flavours to be present across all of the whites, he predicts wine consumers to be very happy when the first of the 2005 wines hit stores in the middle of the year.

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