JAMES AGNEW- CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER
Change is inevitable.
Recent events in world politics have reminded us of that fact with the unexpected outcomes of the Brexit vote and the US Presidential election.
Some changes are more welcome than others though. Of particular note for us at Audrey Wilkinson is the return to favour of Chardonnay – though for us true believers its popularity never dimmed!
I have made no secret that Chardonnay is my favourite variety and I know Jeff feels similarly. Since Jeff started with us 8 years ago we have pursed a singularly vibrant, crisp style of Chardonnay with its hallmark being the absence of malolactic fermentation and a light use of oak.
This more modern style has been well met, as we have seen our Audrey Series Chardonnay become our top selling wine in Australia and chardonnay become our number one export variety as well. To think that not so long ago if you were an “ABC” wine drinker, you wanted Anything But Chardonnay, but that the new term being bandied about is “NBC” – Nothing But Chardonnay!
In large part this growing resurgence of Chardonnay is a result of the fresher styles now being made, but also the introduction of newer chardonnay clones from Burgundy.
We have been keen to explore how these new clones might help further definition to our style and so, 3 years ago, we grafted over two blocks, totalling just over a hectare, to a few of these Burgundy clones commonly referred to as Bernard clones after the man responsible for their selection – Raymond Bernard.
We had reasonable expectations of the quality of grape we might see from this experiment, but were honestly blown away at how well the clones took and the high quality grape the vines then produced.
The first small crop went straight into the 2014 Winemakers Selection and the second year crop into the 2015 Oakdale.
Buoyed by this early success we grafted a further 2.5 hectares over last year and have just completed grafting over another 3.5 hectares this spring.
We won’t see any fruit from these latest changes for this vintage, but we do expect to hand pick a small crop last year’s grafting with full cropping coming in the year after.
Growing popularity has driven some other changes for us at Audrey’s. Many of you who have visited the Cellar Door on the weekend will know that over the past few years we have become exponentially busier. At times this has prevented us from serving the general public, let alone you our Club members, as well as we would have wished.
So, the time has come for us to take action in this regard and, commencing this summer, we shall be introducing a charge for all tastings at the Cellar Door as a way of both curtailing some of this activity, so as to allow us to offer a more refined tasting experience to all and to deliver more value to your membership.
To be clear, Wine Club Members will never be charged for a tasting!
I will send though shortly a separate note to you all detailing the specifics of the new tasting programmes we will be introducing and the added amenity they will bring for Club members (including a return to the Private Tasting room upstairs!), but if you have any questions on this please feel free to contact either myself or Michelle directly.
On behalf of the entire Agnew Wines family, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!