Journal of a winemaker

Tanya B (T1) Winemaker Richard Tallis (Dicky) - Winemaker

10th June 2009

Richard and I are currently working on the new blends for our Dookie Hills Merlot and Sangiovese and the Silent Showman Shiraz. These wines sold like hotcakes last year and the Merlot and Shiraz are all but sold out so we are working hard to get the next vintages blended, bottled and back in stock. The blend components are all looking really good. The 2007 Dookie Hills Merlot is inky purple in colour yet again, it seems our vineyard and climate really suits this variety. The palate has lots of lush plum and berry fruit characters similar to the ’06, which should please the devotees of the previous vintage.

The 2007 Sangiovese is also showing great intensity of colour which we expected as a consequence of the low yielding harvest. As we use only older French oak for our Sangiovese, the wine shows little oak influence and the savoury fruit characters and earthiness are dominant. The 2007 has some lovely firm, almost chewy tannins which make this variety so enjoyable.

The Silent Showman range is only produced if each vintage is worthy and we are more than happy with our ’07 Shiraz components meaning the next blend of this wine is underway. Those familiar with the 2006 vintage would remember the mocha characters in this wine, which are attributed to a parcel of the wine going though barrel fermentation. We will use a barrel fermented component in the 2007 blend along with selected fruitier components for balance. When the blends are finalised and bottled, we will announce the releases via the blog so those who have been awaiting the new vintages can finally get their hands on them.

11th May 2009

Whenever we have visitors to the winery, they are nearly always fascinated with what goes on in the winemaking process to achieve the finished wine. Most are surprised that there is so much science behind it all, and while you may not be interested in all the chemical reactions you might like to hear a little of what we do each week.

It is post vintage at Tallis Wine and all of our wines from the 2009 harvest have completed primary fermentation and are tucked away nicely in barrel. The wines have been inoculated with lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which leads to malolactic fermentation (MLF). MLF converts malic acid, a harsh acid to lactic acid, a far softer and more palatable acid. Wine may commence MLF as a consequence of naturally occurring LAB which can be found in the winery however some strains of LAB lead to the production of undesirable flavours. The preferred method is to inoculate the wine with Oenococcus oeni, a strain of lactic acid bacteria which produces attractive flavours. All of our red wines go through MLF and while some whites, particularly chardonnay, benefit from this chemical reactio. We put a small parcel of our viognier through MLF to inject a little complexity to the wine.

Our preservative free wine has finished primary fermentation and is now in barrel. It has been inoculated with an LAB culture and is currently chugging along. If in doubt, we put our ear to the opening of the barrel and it is possible to hear crackling which are CO2 bubbles, a by-product of MLF. We will watch this barrel carefully to ensure we catch the end of the fermentation. During MLF, the wine is blanketed with the CO2 however when MLF is complete the Casino Dkaplan wine becomes susceptible to oxidation as the CO2 layer begins to diminish, particularly if the barrel is opened. As our preservative free shiraz will not receive the usual dose of sulphur dioxide administered at the end of MLF to act as a preservative and antioxidant, we will need to keep this wine barrel topped (filled to capacity to avoid air contact) and bottled asap. The cooler temperatures we are now experiencing should ensure that MLF will slow down during winter however come spring, fermentation will speed up again so we will need to check the barrel regularly.