Welcome to the WineBlog of RedbankJames – Syrah 2008

We have 2000 Syrah vines (called Shiraz in Australia), planted in 2003 which first fruited last year. It was such a miserable crop, and a poor year, we left the fruit for the birds, in the vain hope they’d keep away from the Pinot Noir. (Fat chance!).

But this year, with near-perfect ripening weather, we watched excitedly as our Syrah ripened:

Helped by John Porter of Porters Wines in Martinborough (www.porterspinot.co.nz) who liaised with Larry McKenna at Escarpment over the road (www.escarpment.co.nz) we kept a close eye on the grapes for botrytis – it tastes foul on red grapes, I know because John made me eat some so I would never let it enter the wine. Then on May 2nd we picked just under two tonnes. It went over to Escarpment winery, and I was shown by Annabel Gibbs, who works for Larry, how to sort the grapes on the sorting table, taking out mouldy ones, pine needles, leaves – anything we didn’t want in the wine. Then into the destemmer the grapes went, and into a vat to be plunged morning and night for two weeks.

How exciting then, the day Larry helped us put our own Syrah into six barrels in our new winery. Here are Colin and Larry filling the barrels:

And here’s Milo, Larry’s bouncy barky chocolate labrador, who thinks Larry’s truck is his security blanket:

The Syrah will stay in the barrels for at least 12 months, probably until after the chaos of next year’s vintage.

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