May 7, 2021
APOGEE Vintage 2021
It’s axiomatic, no vintage is ever the same. And long-range weather pundits are often wrong, which necessarily keeps winemakers on their toes. As northern Tasmania’s Vintage 2021 draws to a close we can report that all varieties display exceptional flavour and balance, the legacy of a very cool year.
In fact in the Pipers River district it was the wettest summer in 20 years – 285mm compared to the average 165mm. Virtually no irrigation was needed due to regular spring and early summer rainfall up to December. March when the grapes ripen was desirably dry. It was also the coolest summer in 10 years.
More technical viticultural observations include flowering in mid-December but delayed veraison of the later ripening clones, resulting in a slightly later start to harvest on 7 April for sparkling varieties. A burst of warm weather round Easter accelerated ripening with the pinot noir clone 777 and pinot gris D1V7 both destined for table wines and picked on 12 April at higher than average baumé with ideal balancing acidity.
Normally the interval between picking our sparkling and table wine grapes is 14 days, but this year the season was truncated to just 5 – 6 days, a result of the warm, dry Easter.
One noticeable feature of Vintage 2021 were instances of ‘hen and chicken’ (millerandage) when some small berries form without seeds, a consequence of conditions at flowering. These bunches ripen to a high sugar level and increase the skin to pulp ratio, potentially contributing more colour and flavour to the final wines.
In summary, Vintage 2021 was a normal spring, wet and cool mid-summer prior to a desirable dry, warm final ripening period that has conjured a large crop of exceptional quality perfectly ripe grapes. Put simply, an exceptional year.
APOGEE Tasmania will produce four wines from the exciting 2021 vintage portfolio – APOGEE Deluxe Vintage Brut, APOGEE Deluxe Vintage Rosé, APOGEE Alto Pinot Gris and APOGEE Alto Pinot Noir.