I do this blog for fun, the wines here are some of the very few I can be bothered to write up. The cream has risen.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Marius Harvest 2014

This was my fourth Marius harvest, and thankfully the coolest yet.

As always, a good crew, made up of Roger's customers, so there's a bit of self interest here to do a good job. The benefit here is the pickers are also the sorters - it's our job to snip off the under-ripe berries and keep an eye out for bunch stem necrosis.

Adelaide had some wacky weather this year, with record number of days over 45C and then 100mm falling on the CBD a few days later. So not surprisingly there was more fruit variation this year, but the vast bulk of the fruit was very good, and compared to a BV vineyard I saw, still very consistent.

Of course the vineyard's micro-climate means Adelaide's extremes weren't the same here, Roger's babies only got 40mm, and the sea and lake breezes kept the heat down. That rain was pretty much spot on to wake the berries up after they'd gone dormant in the heat, so they could continue to ideal ripeness.

As usual, there's a fair bit of variation across the small vineyard, but the most obvious difference to the last few years was the western rows by the evil pines were slightly more fruitful, yet still had the same wonderful complex flavours.

Our group now holds the record of the longest picking day, well unless the Wed crew beat us. Anyway, we were well rewarded, as the last 2 photos show.

For some crazy reason I've offered to pick again next weekend. It's probably guilt, and feeling like I need to pay up for the aforementioned last 2 pics. Either that, or I'm looking for an escape from the elections being held then.

Enjoy the photos. click for bigger versions.

 Dawn over the vineyard. At 7am you wonder wtf you're doing up on a Saturday, but by the arvo you're bloody glad it's not far off beer oclock.

 Black pearls.

Bit of variation in the bunches this year, still the usual tiny berries but the 45C followed by 40mm of rain confused some vines. The grapes that were ripe were lovely, but more bunch stem necrosis and a few more scattered under-ripe berries needing snipping off this year.

 A tad more foliage than previous years, mostly due to the viticulturist (Roger) almost dying last year with Septicaemia. Thankfully he's a lot healthier now, but his walnut crushing grip needs to build back up yet, so pruning has been a problem.

 Better bring me a bucket
As a goal oriented person I found it somewhat disturbing that my 90% full bucket would often be swapped for an empty one.

 Five 700kg bins was the plan, we got pretty close.

The 07 Simpatico, a very good wine especially considering the difficult vintage, however Roger felt it's probably at or near it's peak and he advised drinking in the short term.

  2007 Symphony is a bit different, more fruit power and will go a few more years yet

 Harry showed us his sausage. It's Boerwors, a Seth Efriken mix of spices and meats, all healthy stuff, which you can tell simply by how tasty it is.

We played a few rounds of options. Apparently brown paper bags are hard to come by in this neck of the woods. 

The only shot I got of the 2012 Symphony. It's a recalcitrant beast that needs to be flogged into giving up it's goodies, as it's only been bottled for a short while. Lovely tannins, shows much promise.

Such fruit power here and yet great balance. Hasn't really changed in the last year that I can notice. Will go many years yet if you have some.
What a sexy creature this is, I believe the first of it's line. If the starts align, there could be a sibling in 2014.

The oldest screwcap wine I've had, and one of the very best wines I've ever tasted. This was the transition to screwcap, with 60% under stelvin and 40% under tree bark. This one was screwcap.

It is simply magnificent! The pessimism about seals and aging under screwcap is clearly unwarranted, as this wine proves brilliantly.

Also, that is not Roger's signature.

The pipe is Rogers. It does not ever contain tobacco, but it does smoke.

Not shown wines tasted were a 2010 Symphony, which Roger feels will go 20 years comfortably. I also absolutely stand by my claim that 2011 Marius are outstanding wines, the Symphony is starting to sing now.

I did a second pick so here's a few more pictures:

Bird's eye view
A fair bit of bird damage across the Vale, some lost half their crops, but only a few small sections of the Marius vineyard was badly pecked out.

 Shady picking
Not a lot of need for shade on that last saturday, was pretty cool all day

Driving up in the morning there was donner und blitzen (not the reindeers), though first flash I though was a speed camera (I was not speeding)

but in the end no rain until the end of the day when we were comfortably inside.

 Only leaves left now, and they'll be gone soon too

Tagine, cous cous, Coq au Vin, mashed taters, beans and crusty bread,
courtesy Peter the chef
Went down perfectly as the rain started and the wines flowed


  1. It was a good day, wasn't it! A bit warm towards the end but worth the effort. I think my son Tom & I and Rob Mack & his better half were the last to leave. Luckily we were staying nearby.

  2. Gearing up now for 2015! Hope to see some of you this Saturday

    1. I did a pick yesty, will be there Saturday as well although there is much pain in the old back today. Will be a good day!