95 points, James Halliday
"Hand-picked, wild-fermented with 30% whole bunches, matured for 11 months in new French barriques, 151 dozen made. In the full-bodied, heroic Lethbridge style, impressive and enjoyable. A long future."
I have always thought that grapes are an autumn fruit. I know that this is a controversial idea and one that will make some of my winemaking friends defensive. This theory has been fermenting in the back of my mind for the last 20 years and has only clarified since I have been making Southern Italian varieties from warm climates such as Heathcote.
Thousands of grape varieties exists however, only a handful are grown in each prestigious wine-growing region. Think Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Burgundy or Nebbiolo and Barbera from Piedmont. This would suggest that certain grapes do well in certain climatic conditions. No debate here.
Here is my contentious point; for classic varieties grown in their traditional homes, there is a strong correlation between their best vintages and an autumn harvest. This is because grapes picked in autumn have the best natural balance of sugar, acidity, tannin and flavour.
The grapes in this bottle were picked on the 9th April. Definitely autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.