The spring of 2003 was cool but lacked the clear days and hard frosts we encountered in the previous year. High rainfall and humid conditions persisted through to Xmas and encouraged unusually rampart growth early in the season. Early December conditions for flowering were back to average or better, so we are expecting crop levels to return to normal. The high level of moisture in the soil at this time will tend to promote large berries at harvest and the possibility of softer, more approachable wines from the harvest of 2004. So far the season is showing some similarity to that for vintage 2002 where much growth through a damp summer was counteracted by considerable effort in the vineyard to avoid the herbaceous and weak flavours from excessive canopy shading and the long dry autumn produced wines of fine style and very good concentration.
This is the first time we have presented wines described as being from our "Lovat Vineyard". Previously we leased the "Arapoff" vineyard to farm our Syrah and some Gewurztraminer but in April this block was purchased and renamed for historical reasons. The purchase has increased our acreage of Syrah from 2004 and a small increase in the acreage of Pinot noir will give us greater production flexibility and options for blending in future years.