Greenock Creek Apricot Block Shiraz 2020
On the nose there are pretty florals interwoven through the dark fruits, with hints of stone fruit kernel. The palate is rich and creamy, the powerful fruit profile resplendent with concentrated dark plums, and touches of sauteed stone fruit and bitter dark chocolate. There are some lovely graphite like fine tannins that support the intense fruit flavor profile down the full length of the palate.
Named for an old orchard which was removed (along with 500 tons of bluestone) to make way for vines planted in 1995, the Apricot Block sits on an east facing slope rising up from an old creek bed that intersects our Roennfeldt Road vineyards. The site is beautifully exposed to the soft morning sun, and benefits from late afternoon shade and cooling south easterly gully breezes. The upper sections of the block are laden with hard quartz, granite and bluestone, with the lower sections on silty, sandy loams. These contrasts in the geological structure of the block create a wine that is at once firmly structured, but also showing a generous, plush fruit profile. In a typical year, we anticipate yields of around 1 to 1.5 ton per acre. Cellaring recommendation: 15 years+
96 pts Andrew Caillard MW, The Vintage Journal
The fruit was hand-picked on February 26, destemmed and then gravity fed to open, slate lined fermenters (kept underground, to help keep ferments under 75ºF). Most GC wines are on skins for 7-10 days, where pump-over occurs 3 times daily, with a soft splash technique. The aim is for soft, integrated tannins rather than grippy tannin profiles. Malolactic fermentation is started 2 days into the alcoholic fermentation in order to have this completed early in the process. A 3T basket press is used for all the pressing – it has traditional wooden slates that are wax coated yearly. Pressing time is fairly brief – in order to refrain from drawing bitter tasting juice. Free-run juice, along with pressings are then gravity feed into 5000L underground tank to be combined with the drained off juice. This is then transferred to SS tanks for 2 days, to settle the heavy lees. Following this, the wine is sent to barrel to be matured for 20 months in 15% tight grained new French and a balance of seasoned American oak hogsheads. The wine is then bottled, unfiltered and unfined.
Pre-veraison conditions were hot and very dry, with high winds at flowering decimating yields to an all-time low. Good rains at the end of January, and cooler than average ripening and harvest conditions produced a very low yield of small berried fruit, producing intensely flavored wines with firm tannin lines.