2023 Vintage Update

Due to the unusual weather conditions through summer, 2023 will surely be remembered as a ‘complicated’ or ‘challenging’ vintage. Now that the last parcels of fruit have finished fermentation, were pressed and are into barrel, vintage is officially finished. The winemaking staff can clean the press for the last time, put away the crusher and finally take a moment to catch their breath.

Throughout much of the Yarra Valley, 2023 was a year with very low yields in vineyards triggered by the poor weather that occurred at the end of last year. At Squitchy Lane the yields have been further reduced due to our ongoing vine improvement program, where many of our vines are being replanted.

The late sun that we finally received in March, ripened the white varieties nicely and the quality of the fruit that we picked was excellent. Both Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay displayed good level of ripeness and flavour and were picked while they still retained good acid levels. However, as we have been replanting both varieties, the amount of fruit received into the winery was well below what is typically harvested.

The later harvested red varieties required a little more time in the vineyard and a touch more sun to ensure that they reached their optimum level of ripeness. The two varieties that stood out in this challenging vintage were Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Pinot Noir was in excellent condition when it was hand-picked. The fruit had an abundance of flavour, great structure and impeccable balance.

The Cabernet Sauvignon demanded more sunshine to reach the desired level of ripeness, but it looked (and tasted) amazing when it was picked. The finesse in the Cabernet was probably the biggest surprise, given that at times we despaired on even getting the fruit ripe enough. The 2023 Cabernet will not be released for a few years, but it is definitely a wine to look out for.

Need some wine and don’t want to wait until the 2023 wines are released? The Squitchy Lane Pinot Noir 2019 is drinking beautifully now – a slightly richer style of Pinot Noir, it has flavours of dark cherry and blood plum, and matches fabulously with roast lamb. If you prefer something with more body, try the Squitchy Lane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 20017. An outstanding Cabernet that is full of black currants, black cherry with delicate oak and gentle tannins. This classic Yarra Valley Cabernet would be a perfect over the wine months with beef dishes or stews.