The past five vintages told by winemakers

By Halliday Wine Companion for Curtis Family Vineyards, Patrick of Coonawarra, and DOWIE DOOLE.

24 Apr, 2019

Each Australian vintage is different from the last. One year, the vineyards could be full of ripe and ready fruits, with another year following an entirely different path. Some conditions can be foreseen, others unexpected, and it’s this exact melange of circumstances that crafts each vintage unique. Here, we ask three key winemakers to share their most notable accounts, from the past five vintage periods to date.

Curtis Family Vineyards, McLaren Vale 

Curtis famly

Mark Curtis shares:

2018 presented perfect weather conditions that allowed for a long-ripening period. The good condition of fruit going into the winery allowed winemakers the freedom to take time, and give full care in the winery.

2017 vintage was about the winter weather conditions helping set up the early growth of our vineyards with above average rainfall. We started picking in March, when usually we start in mid-February.

2016 began with a below average winter and spring rainfall. The upside of the dry conditions was that disease pressure was extremely low, and the vine canopies and grapes were in pristine health. These wines are highly aromatic, with gentle acidity and moderate alcohol levels. The standout varietal, at this early stage, appears to be grenache.

2015 began with above average winter rainfall towards the end of July. It was a condensed vintage, with all of our shiraz being picked quite quick. In summary, yields were low, especially in shiraz, yet vibrant and intense colour is a highlight across all varieties. The wines have lovely, clean varietal expression, with fine tannins and excellent balance. They are powerful but restrained.

2014 proved to be challenging with a multitude of weather events. Heavy winter rainfalls were welcomed when spring arrived, as the rain had certainly dried up. Fruit quality was very good overall. Whilst shiraz volumes were down, the lower yields have resulted in wines that display excellent intensity. | 514 Victor Harbor Rd, McLaren Vale | 0439 800 484

Patrick of Coonawarra, Coonawarra

Patrick Of Coonawarra

Luke Tocaciu shares: 

gives me mixed emotions, We were badly frosted, so we had very light crops in some vineyards. The balance that did get picked was fantastic quality, and I’m really happy with the wines. The Estate Riesling was a standout white, and our Home Block Cabernet will be amazing when it’s released in a few years.

2017 was a challenging year, with cool and wet weather getting in the way. We made difficult decisions (between wet weather) on when to pick. The wines are lighter in style, elegant and fresh.

2016 was one of the easiest vintages in memory. Everything ripened, as it should have, with whites first – then a good break – followed by the reds. All the wines are amazing quality with depth, and were picked at perfect ripeness.

2015 had a really warm start in November and December, before getting a much-needed drink of rain in January, setting up the season well. Our Joanna Shiraz is looking to be released soon which is concentrated, rich, and full of flavour.

2014 was one of the longest vintages I have done. We started in early February, and didn’t finish until early May. The Patrick Estate Cabernet is out now, and has picking up lots of medals and great reviews. An elegant year, that is hitting the spot with consumers and judges at the moment. | Riddoch Hwy, Coonawarra | 08 8737 3687



Chris Thomas shares:

2018 was a dry but mild vintage, which was well suited to grenache. We are currently preparing the 2018 G&T (grenache and tempranillo) for bottling, and it’s showing great potential.

2017 was the year we purchased a further 35 hectare vineyard in McLaren Vale. The first vintage was rose, and the dry grenache and vermentino rose received fantastic feedback, being awarded 93 points by James Halliday.

2016 wines show the balance between grace and power. The 2016 Reserve Shiraz and 2016 Cali Road Shiraz, our flagship wines, have recently been released and are showing great potential.

2015 was an exciting year in which Chris took part ownership of DOWIE DOOLE. It was a warmer and extremely fast vintage. Cabernet this vintage was a highlight, with a score of 96 points.

2014 was a milder vintage allowing the fruit to ripen slowly. The quality of this vintage is highlighted by the 2014 Reserve Shiraz, gaining 97 points. | 598 Bayliss Rd, McLaren Vale | 08 7325 6280

Find everything you need to know about the Australian wine vintage 2019 in our essential guide.

 This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with Curtis Family Vineyards, Patrick of Coonawarra, and DOWIE DOOLE.