Unique site the key to Castle Rock Estate

he 2019 vintage Castle Rock Estate reds have been released; the new wines comprise the 2019 Castle Rock Estate Shiraz and 2019 Castle Rock Estate Pinot Noir.

The Castle Rock Estate Pinot Noir is grown on the Estate’s unique vineyards. In my opinion, it is the easterly aspect that makes Porongurup vineyard’s unique.

We get the early morning sun and not the hot afternoon sun. The prevailing wind in summer is an easterly. In most of Western Australia it is hot, but for us the wind comes off the bight, so is a cooling sea breeze. Although we are only 300m above sea level, the surrounding land is low and flat, with the easterly uplifted as it hits the Porongurups. This plays a significant factor in the climate and terroir of the region.

The 2019 vintage was one of the most challenging I have experienced. It was predicated by good vineyard management; we were able to manage most weather conditions and came out unscathed.” Apart from some well-timed rain during late winter it was a very dry 12 months, although not excessively hot. Spring growing conditions were excellent, with vine development about two to three weeks later than the previous year.

There was some rough weather during flowering and that, combined with the general dry conditions, meant the fruit set was not great and we subsequently ended up with much lower yields. The Pinot Noir only yielded 1.8 Tonne per acre.

The 2019 Castle Rock Estate Pinot Noir saw a combination of winemaking treatments including seven days cold soaked, with natural fermentation, 100 per cent whole bunch fermentation and barrel fermentation. The blend was matured in French barriques (28 per cent new oak) without racking for 10 months.

The 2019 Castle Rock Estate Shiraz is from grapes grown in the Mount Barker sub region of Great Southern. Harvested on the 26thApril, the grapes were fermented in two tonne open fermenters and gently plunged two or three times a day in order to build colour and complexity. The wine was left on skins for nine day before being racked to French barriques for 15 months with periodic racking prior to bottling.

We are now enjoying an increase in the number of visitors to the region and the cellar door which is great, and we’re looking forward to complementing these new red releases with the upcoming 2021 vintage whites.