22/03/2005 - 21:00

Wine News - vintage 2005

22/03/2005 - 21:00

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Enigmatic winemaker Janice McDonald, of Suckfizzle and Stella Bella fame, expects the 2005 vintage to be a “really, really good vintage for Margaret River”.

Wine News - vintage 2005

Enigmatic winemaker Janice McDonald, of Suckfizzle and Stella Bella fame, expects the 2005 vintage to be a “really, really good vintage for Margaret River”.

Ms McDonald told Gusto 2005 would be remembered for alternating warm and dry periods and below-average rainfall, which suggested a positive outlook for this season’s fruit, particularly the sauvignon blanc from Suckfizzle’s southern blocks.

“It looks really well defined. You can already see gooseberry and tropical flavours but there is a good length of palate due to the cooler climate and lack of temperature variation,” she says.

And the chardonnay also looks promising, with early sampling revealing some strong citric and grapefruit flavours throughout.

Like most other producers at this time, it’s too early to tell for the reds, Ms McDonald says.

“They may be coming on a little earlier than in previous years but Baumé levels [measuring sugar concentration] are now moving towards 13 degrees and we would look at picking between 13 and 14 degrees.”

And while recent light rain set the semillon ripening back marginally, Ms McDonald is confident it will come back.

“You never know what is around the corner. You’ve got to have the guts to leave it [semillon] out there and just wait and see. You can’t panic,” she says.

There has been an extension of leaf cover removal this year, concentrated in the red blocks of the central part of the Margaret River district, which generally receives more cloud cover. Such efforts are designed to get early exposure to the fruit producing more richness and ripeness in the berries.

Ms McDonald is currently devoting her energies towards another successful vintage, after the 2003 Stella Bella Tempranillo won a gold medal at the first International Tempranillo Competition held in Copenhagen recently.

“We are a small volume producer. With the Tempranillo it’s like putting a foot in the water with different varieties but there are enough people in WA to support these different styles of wine,” she says.

 “It is about the confidence to back your own judgment.”

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