The first Picardy Shiraz was produced in 1997. An elegant, complex, rich, cool climate style wine, this variety is exceeding expectations and will continue to improve through cellaring.
Dan says that this wine is made using many techniques which we use in our Pinot Noir production but using Shiraz grapes, giving a wine in the style of the traditional old world Shiraz. Picardy Shiraz typically contains about 4% Malbec and 2% Viognier to give sweetness of fruit and greater complexity.
Its notable features include: excellent colour, pronounced fruit flavour, low pH without high acidity and fine-grained tannins. This is a complex wine.
In the Vineyard
The Shiraz vines carry a maximum of 8 tonnes per hectare with excess fruit crop-thinned at veraison. To help reduce crop levels, this vineyard is non-irrigated and cane-pruned, like all Picardy vineyards.
A portion of the Shiraz fruit is ripened to approximately 12.5° baume to give lively perfumed characters but the majority is ripened to around 13° baume. The fruit is then handpicked and transported to the adjacent winery, on the Picardy estate.
In the Winery
In the winery, about 5% of the fruit is placed in the small overhead fermenters as whole bunch and then the remainder is destemmed and pumped into the fermenters. It is then given up to 4 days' pre-fermentation cold maceration. The fermentation is carried out at between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius for 10 to 14 days or until the cap sinks. During fermentation the wine is hand-plunged 3 times per day.
The wine and skins are run out of the fermenter into the airbag press. The skins are then pressed firmly.
The different ferments are then blended at this stage to allow maximum integration time.
After settling, the wine is transferred into a combination of new to four year old French oak barriques and about 3% American oak. While in oak the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation, lees ageing (to add complexity and structure) and each barrel is checked and topped up every week. The Shiraz is generally racked three times during its oak maturation.
After twelve months in oak the wine is racked out of barrel to tank and then given a gentle filtration on its way to bottle.