JAMES’ HALLIDAY’S REVIEW: Richard McIntyre has taken Moorooduc Estate to new heights, having completely mastered the difficult art of gaining maximum results from wild yeast fermentation. Starting with the 2010 vintage, there was a complete revamp of grape sources, and hence changes to the tiered structure of the releases. These changes were driven by the simple fact that the estate vineyards had no possibility of providing the 5000-6000 dozen bottles of wine sold each year. The entry point wines under the Devil Bend Creek label remain, as before, principally sourced from the Osborn Vineyard. The mid-priced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are no longer single-estate vineyard wines, and are now simply labelled by vintage and variety. Next come the Robinson Vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, elevated to reserve wine status, priced a little below the ultimate ?Ducs’ (The Moorooduc McIntyre).
2021 is the first cool growing season we have had since 2015, which seem counterintuitive when you reflect back on the news of Australia’s terrible fire season over the summer – we were very lucky, and the conditions here were quite different for us than they were for a lot of Australia.
The season started well, with plenty of moisture in the soil and moderate weather conditions. Spring was unseasonably cool, with strong westerly winds resulting in some reduction of fruit set. The drought conditions seen farther north of us extended south in mid-season bringing the most rapid drying of the vineyard we have ever seen and while we saw a short burst of extreme heat reaching 43°C soon after Christmas, and effectively pre-veraison, it cooled down significantly after that.
Usually January and February bring our hottest weather, but on this occasion mild conditions persisted over these months with intermittent rain events. Cool conditions in ripening time and lead up to harvest. We escaped the bush fires and the resultant smoke taint seen in other parts of Australia at that time. Vintage started on the 8th of March, three weeks later than in 2019.