A solid 2017 vintage for Barossa and Eden Valleys

An anxious wait to an unusually long and cool season is so far revealing promising results to Barossa wines, according to Barossa Grape and Wine Association.

A stand-out for the 2017 grape growing season includes Eden Valley grapes with riesling predicted to rival vintages of 2002 and 2005, and shiraz showing heightened spice aromatics and fine tannins.

Strong varieties to follow include Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mataro.

“In stark contrast to the previous year, the 2016 growing season was one of the wettest on record,” viticultural development office Nicki Robins said.

She said 750 millimetres of rain fell across the region for 2016-17, which was 150 per cent more than the long term average.

“Wet soils, combined with a cooler than average spring and early summer, meant the vines grew slowly but healthily,” Ms Robins said.

This played a big part in grape growers’ overall yields increasing by 20 to 30pc more, following a five-year average. A breakdown of results meant spring copped the brunt of the rain with 198pc recorded, followed by 143pc for winter and 135pc in December.

“As the grapes went through veraison (ripening) in January and February, Barossa experienced generally average temperatures and only two short bursts of high temperatures,” Ms Robins said.

“Two well-timed rain events in late January and early February kept vines healthy and in no rush to ripen, with the rest of February remaining dry.”

March meant the beginning of an Indian summer, which lasted until late April.

“This was perfect for consistent ripening of grapes, with good colour development and natural acidity.”

It was also another solid year for Barossa reds which have since been described by winemakers as bright and aromatic, vibrant, intense and well-structured.

One winemaker mentioned while “it was not a boisterous year, 2017 wines have incredible length of flavour… with exceptional elegance and poise”.