The season has now officially started. As many of you know, last month saw the harvest of the Mount Cotton vineyard which turned out to be quite a fruitful day. Not surprising, the fruit quality was good, as was the volume and weather, all these factors contributing to 7 tonnes of our Chambourcin fruit being picked by extremely passionate harvesters! There’s more exciting news for our vineyards here at Mt Cotton. We are in the process of planting a new variety in Block 4 called Moscato Giallo to replace the virus-infected and leaf-reduced vines. This variety’s thick skins and high levels of sugar make it a good candidate for air-drying which concentrates the sugars, leading to a lusciously sweet style of wine. The new vineyard will be planted next spring and will hopefully start yielding fruit 18 months from then. Last week saw the crushing of 30 tonnes of Semillon from the Burnett Valley for the Perfect Day Semillon Sauvignon blend. At this stage it’s displaying delicious cold tea, citrus, green apple and refreshing tropical fruit characters which are fermenting nicely in tank. As I write this, the Ballandean vineyards are in full swing! We are in the middle of picking Chardonnay for our Signature Collection Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016 blend. Great news. Acids are looking good, and showing tight flavours, which has a lot to do with the somewhat cooler weather we had back in September, October and November of last year. This weather helps retain acidity and refine flavour profiles contributing to the grape’s ultimate sprightliness. This season, we will harvest approximately 20 tonnes of Chardonnay from our Night Sky vineyard Blocks 3 and 4 and then move onto the Pinot Noir from Block 45 of Seven Scenes. These grapes will all form part of our sparkling bases for the 2016 Signature Collection Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend, sure to be a firm favourite! Fortunately, our vineyards have been miraculously missed by the hail and heavy rainfall typical of this region during summer and are in good condition at this stage. Our soon-to-be-ready Verdelho varietal is looking to produce fruit with delicious green apple and tight wounded fig notes. In the next few months we’re looking forward to crushing and pressing all the fruit from our 3 vineyards, and aim to process approximately 600 tonnes in total. This equates to around 30 semitrailer loads of fruit, each holding 20 tonnes for an ultimate array of amazing wines for you to enjoy! Adam Chapman CHIEF WINEMAKER
Queensland’s largest winery, Sirromet, this month released its 2015 Vintage Verdelho which has not only been heralded for its text book finish but looks set to encourage greater interest in wines from the Granite Belt region. Developed from the 2015 harvest, the Vintage Verdelho is light coloured, richly aromatic, medium-bodied and elegantly fruity. This latest vintage promises to get more people thinking about quality wines from the Granite Belt region, proving that Queensland has truly come of age in terms of producing vintage wines. Produced without oak or extended lees contact and filtered and stabilized early, allowing it to retain its freshness and essence of variety, Sirromet Chief Winemaker, Adam Chapman, credits the distinct characters of the 12th vintage to the location, soil, climate and vine balance. “At 820m of elevation, Sirromet’s vineyards are planted in decomposed granite with deep clay sub-soils, allowing the fruit to gain great regional flavours unique to this part of the world,” he said. “Both our white and red grapes matured evenly this year, enabling us to produce a good level of complex acidities, flavours and regional characteristics – resulting in a text book vintage.” Sirromet Wines began its 2015 vintage in early February, with the first crush being Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit from their Granite Belt vineyards, to be used for premium sparkling base. The following weeks saw the harvest of Verdelho, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay white varietals. Featuring a balanced palate of custard apple, pineapple and tropical citrus fruit characters, the Vintage Verdehlo is a fresh, fruit-driven varietal that has a lovely crisp spinal mouth-watering acidity and is bone dry on the back palate. Sirromet is already attracting more than 300,000 visitors each year, putting Queensland’s wine on the world stage, and has collected an enviable 800 prestigious national and international wine awards since opening its doors 15 years ago. “The continued evolution of our wines is a credit to the craftsmanship of our winemaking and viticulture team,” Mr Chapman said. “Sirromet’s 2015 Vintage Verdelho is a must try for anyone who appreciates a first-class drop.”
Cool growing season and high elevation helps Granite Belt wine region flourish for 2015 vintage. THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2015: Sirromet Wines began its 2015 vintage in early February, with the first crush being Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit from their Granite Belt vineyards, to be used for premium sparkling base. The following weeks saw the harvest of Verdelho, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay white varietals. Harvesting of red fruit has just begun, a little later than usual, with Petit Verdot for the red sparkling base crushed last week. “This year has produced a good level of complex acidities, flavours and regional characteristics, all very positive at this early stage of vintage” said Chief Winemaker Adam Chapman. “In comparison to McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley, who have already completed a very early vintage this year, we will continue to take in Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet right up until Easter, demonstrating that elevation is more significant than latitude for determining cooler-climate ripening conditions in Australia”. Adam credits the Granite Belt’s distinct characters of pristine, floral, zesty white wines, and soft, elegant and spicy red wines to the location, soil, climate and vine balance. At 820m of elevation, Sirromet’s vineyards are planted in decomposed granite with deep clay subsoils, allowing the fruit to gain great regional flavours unique to this part of the world. The Granite Belt region is 50kms long and 20kms wide, with some of Australia oldest soils and rock formations. “With soil elevation being one of the most important features of world viticulture, it is nice to know that the Granite Belt will be at least 8°C cooler than Brisbane on any given day; this has to do with the rule that for every 1000ft increase in altitude there is a drop of 3°C in temperature. The average elevation of 2300ft within the Granite Belt helps dramatically with flavour development due to the cool of the late afternoon and cold nights, just like in Mendoza in Argentina, where some vineyards are grown at elevations in excess of 1700m,”Adam said. Chapman said Sirromet expected to crush a total of 500-tonnes of fruit from the 2015 vintage. Varietals being harvested from Sirromet’s three vineyards located in Ballandean, within the Granite Belt wine region are: SEVEN SCENES, BALLANDEAN (52-ha): Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot ST JUDE’S, BALLANDEAN (25-ha): Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon NIGHT SKY, BALLANDEAN (23-ha): Chardonnay, Verdelho, Pinot Gris, Viognier As in past years, fruit harvested from Sirromet’s vineyards at Ballandean will be transported by a fleet of refrigerated trucks in a 220km/three-hour drive to the winery’s production site at Mount Cotton. The grapes are then unloaded and crushed early in the morning in preparation for fermentation of the new wines.