A look back at previous growing seasons on the Danbury Ridge estate and their impact on the resulting wines.
2021 was a tale of two halves. Low yields and extremely vigilant vineyard management were essential due to the cool start to the growing season along with Spring frosts. We needed recorded highs in September and October, and we got them, with a very dry November to follow.
On the Danbury Ridge estate, growing degree days were higher than 2018 and 2020 at picking. It is a credit to the vigilance shown in the vineyards that we can reach good still wine ripeness even in marginal years.
Sugar levels were lower than usual because of a cold summer, but phenolic ripeness and flavour profiles were extremely good. Higher acid will be a signature of such a vintage and will be comparable to the 2016 vintage where the resulting wines beautifully balanced acidity and sugar. With gentle vinification, respectful of the vintage, the wines will retain their freshness and bright fruit.
The 2020 vintage was the second harvest at the Danbury Ridge Wine Estate winery and was one of many extremes. Following one of the wettest winters of the past decade, the growing season began with potentially devastating frost events at the end of March and into April. Despite these cold night-time temperatures, very warm, dry, sunny daytime conditions resulted in the earliest veraison seen in the region in the past decade.
Record levels of ripening were achieved as the start of September experienced a late summer heatwave before rain arrived, replenishing soil nutrients and producing healthy, vigorous vines. For the Pinot Noir, this cooler weather and the rain that followed allowed the clusters to develop complex flavours whilst maintaining acidity.
The quality of the Chardonnay was exceptional, and the resulting wines are once again full of flavour and vibrancy. The Octagon Block displayed a fantastic fruit set allowing us to produce a beautifully balanced single block Chardonnay, showcasing the site’s generous character.
The 2019 growing season started positively with unseasonably warm weather and low rainfall during flowering, bunch closure and veraison. The low yielding Pinot Noir vines responded well and reached good ripeness levels. At the end of August, the potential for another exceptional harvest looked promising.
Rain fell during September and October but despite the quantity of water, the grapes had already enjoyed the ideal amount of time on the vine to achieve full maturation of the grape tannins and complex phenolic development.
The 2018 vintage was an excellent growing season. The intense cold and heavy snowfall brought on by the “Beast from the East” delayed the growing season and crucially meant frost at bud-burst was avoided. The warm temperatures and dry conditions prevailed into summer and our vineyards’ experienced 1,039 growing degree days. This long vegetative cycle allowed for slower grape maturation, enhancing flavour development. Near perfect conditions at harvest has resulted in wines that exhibit elegant textures and a generous fruit profile making 2018 a vintage of an exceptional nature that will allow for cellaring.