One vineyard, many expressions
Wednesday 1 February
Welcome to day one at the eighth International Cool Climate Symposium in Hobart, Tasmania.
My brain hurts after today’s seminars, which have focused on many technical issues relevant to vineyard managers and winemakers. I have to admit ‘applied geometrics’, and ‘spatial and temporal changes in fruit composition and juice in the vineyard’ had me pretty bamboozled.
Dr Richard Smart presented the results of a study into Pinot Noir at Tamar Valley winery, which was at times confusing, particularly when he started recommending a book about Antarctica that he’d just read, but we soon got back on track!
The main tenets of his seminar were that two bunches from the same vine can produce wines that are totally different in composition.
By vinifying each bunch separately the research found a wide range of different colours and tannin levels. It also revealed that exposure of bunches to UV light reduced botrytis infections and also increased colour and tannins.
Going as far as the berry level, shrivelled berries produced wine that was 40% higher in phenolics than its non-shrivelled equivalent and tannin increased 120% despite just a 10% increase in sugar levels. Weirdly, berry size had no impact on wine colour or phenolics, which goes against what I had always believed…
Smart concluded, “Bunch variability is the most important thing for Pinot Noir”.
So, it seems you can have one vineyard, one vine or even one bunch and the resulting wines are different beasts.
What does this mean for our notion of terroir and single vineyard wines when there is such enormous variability within those sites? I’m not sure my head hurts too much but it does raise some questions to contemplate.
In the meantime maybe I’ll go and read that Antarctica book. It might be a bit easier on the brain.