Vintage ConditionsThe 2009 vintage in Margaret River produced exceptional ripening conditions which resulted in intensely flavoured wines with fantastic varietal characters. Following the cool finish to 2008, the ripening months of January, February and March saw a series of prolonged periods of warm weather punctuated with short cool, dry spells. This allowed for slow ripening which retained natural grape acids and produced great flavour concentration in the Chardonnay varietal.
Vinification and MaturationThe Chardonnay fruit from each vineyard was picked between 12.0-12.8 Baume according to when the flavours peaked in each block. At perfect ripeness, the fruit was selectively handpicked over two-to-three hours at dawn and then transported to the winery. The fruit was then gently loaded into an airbag press with the juice being continuously tasted which ensured only the finest quality parcels were used in the blend. A select batch of juice went straight into new French oak barriques from the press tray to naturally ferment on solids. The balance of juice batches, each representing a single vineyard block, were cold settled over night and 'rough' racked the following day to ensure solids were included in the fermentation. Select batches were allowed to undergo natural fermentation at this stage with the balance being fermented with a yeast strain chosen on its ability to impart textural complexity to the end wine. Each ferment was then transferred to French oak barriques (35 percent new, 50 percent one-year-old) halfway through fermentation and when dry, each individual barrel was topped in place where it remained for six-to-eight months. Each barrel was lees stirred fortnightly for the first two months and then monthly for the final four-to-six months to provide texture and mouthfeel in the end wine. No malolactic fermentation was undertaken. Each batch and each barrel type within each batch was carefully assessed for inclusion into the final blend. This minimal handling and winemaking intervention has produced a unique, delicate Redbrook Chardonnay style that will develop great complexity over time.
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