Spring has finally sprung here in the Barossa. We have seen a sequence of warm sunny days and, along with the sun, bud burst and some rapid growth in the vineyard. However, mixed in with the few days of sunny skies have been numerous reminders of the cold, wet winter just gone.
And a cold, wet winter it certainly was… We had above average rainfall for May, June and July and record rainfall for September (162 mm!); welcome conditions after the lean rainfall of the last few years. This rain should ensure full dams and soaked soil profiles across the Barossa, a great sign for a positive growing season ahead.
More than just another winery, John has leveraged his 28 years of working and learning about the Australian winemaking industry at the internationally renowned Penfolds, not to mention four generations of South Australian vignerons, before creating a family label of his own in 2003.
His experience with Penfolds, his degree in agriculture and winemaking, and his love for the craft shine through in the wines he’s made since then. Along with international projects in Chile and Washington State (US) he spends at least four uninterrupted months in the Barossa each year to craft our range of premium wines.
Recently, we were absolutely thrilled to be featured in ‘Australia’s Best Winery Experiences’, a review by Bupa Travel Insurance on some of the best wines and winery experiences to be found. Bupa Travel Insurance were particularly impressed by our innovative and welcoming collective cellar door, Artisans of Barossa.
If you haven’t already paid us a visit, make sure you drop by the collective cellar door we participate in to try our wines. Embracing the collective spirit of the Barossa region, John decided to team up with five like-minded wine producers (Spinifex, Schwarz Wine Company, Sons of Eden, Massena and Hobbs of Barossa Ranges) rather than go it alone. The group calls themselves Artisans of Barossa, and each member works to produce small batches of premium regional focused wines.
Each ‘Artisan’ has their own unique style, and together, the six members provide a unique tasting experience showcasing the best that the Barossa region has to offer. Along with a revolving wine list, Artisans offers a share focused food program hosted by Pete Little and Tracey Collins of Harvest Kitchen. This means a visit to the Artisans of Barossa tasting room offers a comprehensive food and wine experience.
If you would like a more intimate setting to truly understand the complexities of our wines, we have an exclusive lounge area separate from the tasting room where you can taste each Artisan’s wines. Call Artisans on 08 8563 3935 to arrange a private tasting experience.
Vintage 2016 is well and truly in full swing at John Duval Wines. As this update goes to press, we will be picking Grenache and Mataro, with the last of our Eden Valley Shiraz ferments just kicking off.
The growing season was characterised by low winter and spring rainfall, which was followed by a hot spell in mid December. The warm weather continued through January, and was thankfully broken by almost 40 mm of rain in late January early February. The timing of this rain was perfect, particularly for a lot of our dry grown vines, who gratefully received a big drink.
Hand Picking Les Fenson’s Marananga Shiraz
Following the rain, the balance of the ripening season comprised warm days, but slightly cooler than average night temperatures, helping the vines to cope with the warm conditions. This February weather was fantastic for Shiraz, with our first Shiraz fruit harvested on Tuesday 9 February showing amazing colour and intensity.
We are also very impressed with the quality of Grenache for 2016, with the old bush vines coping particularly well with the warmer late February and early March conditions. Early signs point to very high quality and therefore a release of our premium Annexus Grenache, which we only make in exceptional years.
Hand picked Grenache from the ‘Dalwitz’ vineyard in Tanunda
The John Duval Wines team has expanded, with John’s eldest son Tim joining the business on 18 January. Tim comes to JDW after 6 years as a commercial lawyer in Adelaide, specialising in wine, agribusiness and hospitality transactions. Tim had a week to acclimatise himself with the business before the mad vintage rush commenced, and has been busy dividing his time between the vinyeard, winery and our ongoing marketing and sales activities.
Please refer to tasting notes in our shop section.
Vintage Report 2014
A dry late spring and hot start to summer was brought to a halt on Valentine’s day by significant rain and then cooler conditions for the remainder of vintage. Due to the dry, hot January, vintage started early with whites on the 11th of February but with the rain on the 14th reds were delayed until to end of February.
The 2014 Plexus is a generous wine with good intensity of bright, plush blackberry fruit and Christmas cake character. The 2014 has an appealing texture with soft tannin backbone.
The 2014 Entity is full bodied and generous with excellent concentration of blackberry fruit. This vintage has textured layers of fruit, balanced acidity and fine, long tannins will enable good cellaring potential.
Vintage Report 2013
The 2013 vintage story was all about the dry 2012 winter and spring leading into a warm to hot summer. In the Barossa this always means low yields and an early start to vintage. Vintage started with a rush on the 12th of February with some early Shiraz.
The 2013 Eligo is an elegant expression of dark fruit with concentrated layers of berry, earthy savouriness and smoked meat flavours. The 2013 is long and intense with excellent texture and balanced tannin structure.