Our Viognier is grown on a combination of terrains on our Estate and the 2022 fruit came in over 3 small pickings between 25 February and 8 March as the different viticultural pockets managed to perfectly ripen their fruit. Achieving balance in Viognier is a tough task, but our cool climate allows for a lengthened ripening period, preserving the fruit’s acidity whilst developing those succulent, mouth-coating phenolics and gobsmacking concentration in fruit.
Words from our winemaker, Megan:
Going into the 2023 season on the back of a slightly “drier” winter and warmer spring, bud break at Beau occurred around 12 days early. There was no real disease pressure during Spring through early summer and our first flower hoods detached from around 24 October, luckily just after receiving 34mm of rain. Though we were grateful to receive some rain right before flowering, this rain combined with additional heat during October led to increased vegetative growth resulting in increased humidity within the canopy – not ideal for the flowering microclimate. It meant a season of increased suckering to allow for air movement and better spray penetration in the bunch zone.
Bunches set more loosely than in prior years, and though berry size remained consistent, bunches were lighter. Mid-December rains led to soil reserves being filled and us seeing another spike in vegetative growth. The increased water and heat also pointed towards more strenuous management of weeds on the vineyard floor, which we left to try and counteract the strong vegetative growth and resultant slower reproductive growth in the vineyard. It was dry from late December through January, with a welcome 15mm of rain on the 25th just to allow for a little bit of extra hang time during an otherwise early season. February showed textbook conditions and we were very happy with this crop showing beautiful phenolic ripeness at lower sugar levels and higher than average acid concentrations.
Our Viognier is grown on a combination of terrains on our Estate and the 2023 fruit came in over 3 small pickings between 13 February and 2 March – on average a week earlier than the year prior. Achieving balance in Viognier is a tough task, but our cool climate allows for a lengthened ripening period, preserving the fruit’s acidity whilst developing those succulent, mouth-coating phenolics and gobsmacking concentration in fruit.
Bunches were picked just after sunrise, cooled overnight and whole bunch pressed the following morning. Sulphur and dry ice were both omitted at processing in an attempt to hyperoxidise the juice. It allows us to drop out those bitter phenols that are responsible for the more astringent versions of this varietal expression. The juice settled over 2 days before being racked to various vessels for fermentation. We believe that neutral vessels do well in preserving our vineyards’ unique characteristics, so 30% of the blend is fermented and matured in concrete egg and the remainder 70% in older 225L French oak barrels. Once fermentation was complete, the wine matured on the gross fermentation lees for 7 months with zero batonage before sending all the different vessels with lees and all to stainless steel. With all parts as one, the final volume settled for a month before being bottled. At first, the nose is shy and hints of orange blossom, jasmine flower and mascarpone. These subtle notes linger until a convincing swirl releases unmistakable white peach and candied mandarin.