Vintage Report 2015
a classic vintage producing age worthy wines
The growing season for 2015 vintage started dry and cool. Budburst timing was typical with Pinot Noir starting on 27th September and Sauvignon Blanc about 3rd October. Spring was rather warmer than usual resulting in flowering starting a little early in Pinot Noir and very early in Sauvignon Blanc. This critical process was interrupted by a period of cool damp weather and led to a somewhat uneven fruit set and low yields across all varieties. The growing season continued very dry with warm temperatures through January and February. Veraison occurred at about normal time mid-February. Respite arrived in early March with some welcome rain, albeit a small amount, followed by much cooler though sunny weather. This was fantastic and helped slow down ripening.
We’ve held the view for some time now that grapes are best picked after the autumn equinox. The reasoning for this is that once the equinox has passed the season changes significantly and the day/night ratio falls to the dark dominating. At this point we’ve recognised a shift in the vines metabolism, becoming more autumnal, and the ripening process of fruit “deepens”. Grapes go beyond being just analytically ripe and lead to wines of true richness and character – essential to the Churton style.
Harvest for Pinot Noir started on 24th March and finished with Shoulder Block on 30th March. Fruit was picked between 22 and 23 brix with great acid balance. Yields varied from 4 through 5.9 T/ha (30-45hl/ha). Sauvignon Blanc was harvested a little earlier than normal from 27th March until 2nd April. As it had been such a warm year, our picking decision was based on sugar/acid balance to ensure we retained freshness. Brix levels were relatively elevated at up to 24 degrees but the resulting wine has great salinity and brightness. Yields were low at an average of 7 T/ha (50hl/ha) with Best End Block at only 4.3T/ha (21hl/ha). Viognier and Petit Manseng were picked on 9 April and 20th April respectively, both aromatically impressive with ideal ripeness and structure. Petit Manseng was close to 27 Brix with 12 g/l TA.