Ironically, for a season that will be remembered for the devastation caused by the February 2009 bushfires, it was cool weather that defined the vintage "up the hill”. Budburst was excellent but in mid November, just as flowering commenced, through into December, cool wet weather meant flowering and fruit set was poor resulting in very low yields. Main Ridge was less effected by the intense heat from mid January to early February; the rolling hills tend to hide the vines from afternoon heat loads and our predominately east-west running rows were less exposed to the extreme afternoon heat which caused most damage. The end result was low yields, great balanced acidity and intense flavours.
Main Ridge Pinot Noir...
Budburst - 11 Sep [avg 7 Sep]
Flowering – 15 Nov [avg 21 Nov]
Veraison - 6 Feb [avg 3 Feb]
Harvest – 6 Apr [avg 31 Mar]
Budburst-harvest - 208 days [avg 207 days]
DORMANT INTERVAL [May-Aug]: Temperatures around average, though cool July and August; rainfall average.
BUDBURST INTERVAL [Sep-Nov]: Temperatures above average; rainfall average. Slightly late budburst, good growth once started.
FLORAISON INTERVAL [Dec-Jan]: Temperatures slightly below average though cool December (2nd coolest) and very hot January (2nd highest); rainfall slightly above average though with a very wet December (51mm on 13th and 21mm on 14th creating some disease pressure) and very dry January. Cooler flowering period resulting in lower yields.
VERAISON INTERVAL [Feb-Apr]: Temperatures average though above average February (see below); rainfall average though driest February on record. Intense heatwave in February caused little interference with harvest "up the hill".
Budburst slightly later than average, flowering a week earlier than average, veraison average and harvest 5 days later than average. Hang time average.
This was the year of the devastating Victorian bushfires. Over 20 days from 19 January to 7 February, Black Saturday, there were 9 days above 30° with 5 of those above 35° and 4 of those above 40°, culminating in 45.8° on Black Saturday.
Depending on several factors – row orientation, degree of leaf plucking - the effect of the heat ranged from relatively minor to significant with many bunches completely burnt on the west side of the rows and berries desiccated on the east side. Consequently quality is regarded as variable. Langton’s rate it 6/Halliday 9.