In a world rather short of good news, it seems that Margaret River’s wine growers, at least, have something to celebrate. Early feedback from this year’s vintage suggests that 2020, which is now nearly all safely fermenting in the region’s wineries, is of exceptional quality.
Margaret River Wine Association (MRWA) described it as ‘a real treat for viticulturalists’, while Steve James, winemaker at Voyager Estate told Imbibe that it was ‘an amazing vintage, with both the whites and reds looking sensational’.
The region didn’t suffer from the bushfires that scarred other parts of Australia – particularly the Adelaide Hills – around the New Year, and an early vintage meant that covid-19 social distancing measures were only introduced part way through harvest. While logistically challenging, it meant that wineries had no problems in sourcing pickers or harvesting their crop.
Climatically, 2020 saw a wet winter, followed by a warm spring and slightly warmer than average summer, but one without serious heat spikes after veraison. Conditions were described by the MRWA as ‘ideal conditions for a wide range of varieties, from early to late ripening’.
Temperatures moderated into March, meaning there was no pressure on growers to pick.
‘They are ripe, flavoursome wines,’ said James. ‘The standout feature for me being the silky, fine, soft tannin structures; [they are] really exceptional reds.’
MRWA described the Chardonnay vintage as ‘sensational’.
The only downside of the 2020 vintage seems to be that it is smaller than usual yields, which suggests that the wines could be in shorter than usual supply and slightly more expensive when released. Restaurants could be advised to place orders with their suppliers early.