A selection of the most unique and striking vineyard plots, recognised for its innovative winemaking and distinguishing 'Heytesbury' character. Their most unique small vineyard sections where clone, aspect and soil interplay in such a way to ignite stunning varietal and wild yeast characters. A beautiful cool season saw Chardonnay picked three weeks later than the last 10 years, with elegant fruit perfumes, ideal sugar levels and high acidity. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged, though it is not an obvious feature of the wine. Due to the cool conditions, 52% of the fruit was Selectiv machine harvested to extract additional fine flavours from the skins before pressing. After settling for a short time, the cloudy juice was transferred straight to barrel. The remaining balance was hand-harvested, whole-bunch pressed and transferred direct to barrel as unclarified juice. The wine was fermented with only natural yeasts from the vineyard and remained in barrel for nine months with some battonage. The fruit was 100% Gingin clone from Wilyabrup and Wallcliffe. A very restrained vintage has produced a young wine that will blossom with time in bottle. 2017 was a cooler and later vintage than the previous 10 years; a year of elegant, perhaps slightly lighter bodied wines, though ripe in flavour, vibrant and very perfumed. Higher than average yields in combination with a cooler season contributed to delayed ripening of the fruit and good acid retention. Some timely warmth and sunshine occurred throughout January, although February temperatures remained moderate with some rainfall. With the cooler weather, canopy management and fruit thinning was imperative to mitigate disease pressures and allow for even, persistent ripening. There was a warm start to March to finish the white harvest, followed by the driest April since 1982, finishing the reds beautifully.
- Vasse Felix