The 2017 growing conditions were nearly identical to the 2014 vintage, in numbers. The flowering conditions were sub-optimal, which caused some patchy fruit set and lowered the potential yield. This might have been a blessing since in the second half of the summer we experienced lower sunshine hours due to continuous cloud cover, and higher winds, which subsequently slowed down ripening conditions.
The presence of adequate heat, but a lack of sunshine (UV-light) brings out previously un-seen characters in our Dry River Pinot noir. We usually utilise sunlight to our advantage to benefit both tannin and aromatic accumulation. Provided we pick at their peak, we can gently extract these characters during fermentation. This year we had to delay picking by seven to ten days and thus had to work a little harder to extract the desired components in the winery, resulting in a more approachable, sappy rich wine, full of flavour.
The nose is very attractive, with a perfume-like finesse and a lighter than usual appearance. A fresh, complex and floral nose shows Christmas lilies, violets and honeysuckle. There are the hallmark, darker Dry River characters of fruit of the forest, plum and berry compote, mixed with a gentle touch of oak. Upon first approach the wine is soft and broad, with ripe, almost sweet fruit characters on the front of the palate. The intricate and round tannins have a mature presence with seamless integrated oak, something we would normally only see after two to three years. Towards the mid palate the wine is gaining power with a dynamic force, presumably a combination of the fruit and tannin density, governed through a radiant acidity. The structured finish is long and abundant in fruit, lingering to ponder the interest in the typicity of the vintage.
Please note this wine has been un-fined and unfiltered in order to safeguard aromatics and structure. Therefore a deposit might form in the bottom of the bottle.
Though approachable as a young wine, the 2017 will benefit from three to five years additional evolution for optimum drinking pleasure.