Because I am slack as with writing this blog, there are no posts from last years harvest. Now that the 2019 wines are mostly finished malolactic fermentation, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back and assess the vintage. It was the 10th harvest for Heaps Good Wine Co. It all started in 2010 with 11 barrels (around 3000 bottles), and in 2019 we did close to 50,000 bottles worth. It was also the 25th harvest for me personnally since I stumbled into the industry way back in 2001. And to mark those two milestones we were blessed with a pretty good year.
The season wasnt textbook, but the disease pressure, while higher than we would like was a walk in the park compared to 2018. Crop levels were naturally pushing high, so we had to be aggresive in our canopy management in order to keep them under control. We had 1,5 hectares of new vineyard come into production, and the excitement of what that parcel will one day be able to produce continues to grow.
Things were tracking beautifully until 26th August, then we got hit by a hail storm in our Oplotnica vineyard. That kicked us into action, we harvested on the 28th, picking up all the damaged fruit of Sivi and Modri Pinot and leaving the healthy grapes to hang. The damaged grapes we pressed for Sparkling base, so we will have to wait and see how that goes, lets just say it has lively acidity.
It was by far the biggest harvest we have ever done, and there was a recurring theme of overfilling the fermentors in a bid to maximise space. In the middle of harvest the cellar was completely full, we were storing empty tanks outside, and it was like a rubix cube, moving everything around to get to what you needed.
We made a couple more Pet Nats this year, it seems that every man and his dog made one in 2019, so maybe five vintages is enough for us and we can leave it to the rest now. But anyway, I wanted to try something different, so we made a red one from Zweigelt, its rustic and funky, and actually quite drinkable. Of course we did the rose again, like every year, this time we made it exclusively from Modra Frankinja, picking the fruit from the young vineyard specifically with Pet Nat in mind.
It was raining Pinot noir with the new vineyard coming on line, we tried to keep a reasonable crop on the young vines in order to try to retain balance in the fruit, I avoided whole bunch and kept the plunging to a minimum and was careful not to keep them on the skins too long(17-20 days). It is always difficult working with fruit from young vines, but I am quite happy with how the wines turned out. The old vineyard pinot all got a percentage of whole bunch, and with the exception of one ferment which has gone super reductive in barrel, the wines are the best looking at this stage since 2016 harvest.
We purchased some ‘red grapes’, that may or may not be Refosk from Prekmurje, so that was a little different, destemmed into open top fermentors and treated like we treat the pinot, the wine has turned out ok, very delicate and clean fruits, but absolute ripping acidity, time will tell on that one, might need to get control of the vineyard before taking that fruit again, it could of done with being cropped a bit lower.
The last thing to come in on October 14th was some more ‘red grapes’, that may or may not be Syrah, Rado had been bitching that he was the only one cleaning the destemmer during the harvest, so I had promised him I would clean it after the Syrah. No problem, chucked it in 100% whole bunch.
The wines are looking pretty good, and overall the quality was really nice, so keep an eye out for the 2019s a few years from now. Cheers