• James-Paul Marin

2021 Vintage Report - Is it as good as 1st thought?

Sorry for being MIA, but the 2021 vintage was the biggest and most work I have completed and hence the absenteeism. Is this vintage as good as the other Naked Winemakers are reporting??? It’ll go down as one of the best growing and harvest seasons in recent memory. If you’re a grape grower you’d be loving the fact that yields were up about 15%... if you’re a winemaker you’d be loving that grape prices were softer and fruit was available to purchase…. if you’re a wine drinker you’d be loving that quality is amazing. However where we have come from, anything would look rosier than the extremely challenging 2020 vintage; fires, floods, drought, Covid-19…. we had the lot.


I attributed both the strong flavour and yield increases to the much milder conditions. Grapes reached a flavour ripeness before sugar ripeness, which is something we haven’t seen in McLaren Vale for quite a few years. The wines are showing really bright, rich, deep fruit flavours and the vintage intake was smooth and relaxed allowing me to ‘cherry pick’ exactly when to harvest the grapes to make the ideal wine. One of my viticultural colleagues (grape growing mates) told me “we finally have a bumper crop after several years of devastating dry conditions, thank God it rained. It’s been a hell of a lot better than the last couple of years. In short we were on track early… with above average rainfall allowing good strong vine canopies to produce good strong crop levels. Warm to hot days followed this and leading into harvest, conditions were ideal for ripening fruit”.


In terms of the McLaren Vale Cabernet – it’s the best in quite some years, the colour is sooooo deep and demonstrates strong varietal fruit flavours. It reminds me of the amazing 2006 vintage. Shiraz was close to average (high praise indeed) but Shiraz from McLaren Vale is a no brainer. But that beloved 75 year old Blewitt Springs vineyard where I source my reserve Shiraz experienced a mild, balmy season that has led to excellent grape quality and depth. My Reserve Shiraz wine is going to be absolutely age – worthy. I will trumpet it now….. I will concede that the whites I saw over the weighbridge were a little disappointing this year.


2021 was a cracker and it delivered. IN A FEW WORDS? BIGGER, EASIER and WHAT A RELIEF! - JP

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