THAT was spring? If you’re a local Taswegian, or spent some time touring our state these past few months, you’ll have found it a little chilly. So chilly, in fact, that some of the vineyards in the north and east of the state suffered some pretty devastating consequences, with frost biting quite a few of them. This was all caused by a looming El Niño cycle, approaching this summer. If you’re into your weather patterns, check out what the Bureau of Meteorology says about what the next few months will hold.
This all means that over the coming months, we are in for an extended dry spell, and the risk of major frost events are more likely. We’re quite fortunate at Josef Chromy as our vineyard is generally protected from frost thanks to the air drainage from the hills; however, you can never be too sure, and we have lost some crop in the past, so will certainly be vigilant and on the lookout for any reoccurrence over the coming weeks.
The vineyard crew is hard at work desuckering (yep, that’s a technical word!) which basically means removing any non-fruitful shoots – the ‘suckers’ – to encourage the vine to focus all its energy on the fruit bearing shoots. This is just another one of the many processes in the vineyard that encourages the vine to produce high quality fruit.
In the winery we are busy with the final filtration of the last of the aromatic whites. We’re also starting to prepare the sparkling base wines for tiraging early next year. The production team haven’t stopped these past three months, it seems, bottling all the whites and keeping the disgorging line running to keep stocks up for the pre-Christmas demand. It’s an insanely demanding time of year but seeing all that wine bottled and packaged up is very rewarding.
The only other thing (and perhaps the most exciting part for us winemakers!) is the allocation and blending phase of our top Pinot Noir/Chardonnay wines. The blending cycle takes a good few weeks to finalise to make sure we produce only the best expression of vintage 2018. These premium wines will be something to look forward to in the near future, so stay tuned.
As the year comes to a close, and we look to vintage 2019, it’s a good time to give a shout-out to all our loyal staff and thank them for their dedication to making, bottling and selling our quality wines. “It takes a village”, they say, and our little JC village is quite the team.
On that note, wishing you a wonderful Christmas, New Year and all round festive season. And don’t forget the sparkling! ORDER NOW
20 Aug 2018 winery
The two best things to do at this time of year are 1) sit in front of an open fire with a glass of Josef Chromy Pinot, and 2) prune the vines that made the Josef Chromy Pinot. And not just the pinot, but the chardonnay, gris and all the rest. At this time of year, it is crucial that weak and old shoots are removed and the best shoots are laid down for new growth next season. It is arguably the most important time in the growing cycle to ensure we give our vines the attention needed to produce the very best quality fruit for next vintage. See what's involved.
With all of this important activity going on in the vineyard, we're pleased to introduce two new members of the Josef Chromy team - Viticulturist/Vineyard Manager Luciano Caravia, and Assistant Vineyard Manager Michael Wilson. Both Luciano and Michael bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and we’re excited to have them on board. The best wines are made in the vineyard, and we look forward to delivering even more exceptional wine in the years to come.
Meanwhile, in the winery, we’ve taken delivery of a new toy, with the arrival of a brand spanking new disgorging line that removes yeast lees from sparkling wine, leaving a lovely, clear bottle of bubbles. The new equipment has the potential to double our daily output of sparkling products, which is important as we have had trouble keeping up with demand!
In the cellar, we are racking and returning our barrel-aged red wines, removing excess sediment and giving the barrel interior a clean. We will soon finish the last white wine blending, fining and stabilising in preparation for filtering and bottling. We’ve had a great 2018 vintage by the look of everything and the hard work from earlier this year has paid off as we hit the final stretch.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle.
17 Aug 2018 Josef Chromy Restaurant
Sarah has crafted a delicious winter dish highlighting fresh and preserved mandarin, teamed with bitter dark chocolate and a gingerbread spiced mascarpone cream. One of the delicious desserts on our later winter dessert menu.
Gingerbread mascarpone with dark chocolate and Mandarin
Cocoa nib meringue
50g icing sugar
40g egg whites
3g cinnamon powder
3g ginger powder
20g cocoa nibs
Whisk icing sugar and whites to a stiff meringue. Fold through spice and nibs. Spread thinly over a flat tray. bake in oven at 150 for an hour and then turn oven down to 80 and leave in oven until dry.
6g ginger powder
12g vanilla bean paste
80g brown sugar
30g fresh ginger
bring water and dry spices, sugar and treacle to the boil. Take off heat. Blitz fresh ginger with spice liquid and then pass through a fine sieve. Cool.
150g ginger syrup
Fold gently, don’t over mix. (note. If there is any gingerbread syrup left over can mix with spiced rum, mandarin or lime and ginger beer for a nice weekend beverage)
100ml mandarin juice
30g castor sugar
1 sheet gelatin
Melt the sugar in mandarin juice (don’t bring to boil). Bloom gelatin, mix gelatin through juice and season with lemon juice to balance. freeze. Once frozen scrape with a fork.
Put a quenelle of mascarpone on the bottom of the plate and use spoon to make a well in the centre. Crumble some dark chocolate. Clean and cut some fresh mandarin to also put in the well. Cover with broken meringue and put a spoon of mandarin granita to the side.
As others in the industry will attest, the 2018 vintage experienced one of the most extraordinary seasons, one that Tasmania has not witnessed in at least the last ten years. As Galileo so beautifully articulated, the sun definitely did its job this year, ripening those bunches of grapes with an assumption it had nothing better to do than to focus on Tasmania.
To put this in perspective, most years at Josef Chromy we’d usually start harvesting our grapes around the first week of March, but this year we started on February 19. And once it started, it did not stop coming for the next eight weeks.....it was full on. It was a record breaking year for us, processing 2477 tons of grapes in just eight weeks, with some of our daily intakes reaching 140 tons which made for some pretty intense days.
With the huge volume of fruit received each day, it was critical that we put together a team of staff that was highly skilled and extremely efficient. This year we had eight people join us from all over the world including the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Switzerland. The team were nothing short of exceptional and arguably the best combination of skills and personalities we’ve seen in the eight years since I joined.
Despite nailing our biggest vintage on record, we also managed to squeeze in a regular Saturday barbecue lunch – it was particularly convenient that we managed to hire a qualified chef on our winery team this year… (Thanks Nic!)
We are in the final stages now, pressing the last of the reds and finishing off the white ferments. It’s an intricate stage of the process, ensuring the wines ferment to dryness. So far, everything appears to be going very well and the wines are looking vibrant and full of character.
The vineyard team is now on a well-earned break before pruning starts in May/June. And then preparation starts again for next year’s vintage.
As the processing stage winds down, our production team crank up the disgorgement of our sparkling wines so we can get it out to our many distributors. And then it will be time to get started on all of the 2018 aromatic wines.
You should expect to see some impressive wines on the back of this vintage; quality wines that are intense, full of flavour and typically varietal, and what you’d expect from a Josef Chromy wine. Based on what we’ve seen so far, 2018 is definitely going to be a vintage to watch.
Every now and then we see a small batch of fruit that stands above the rest. Something that jumps out with a particular quality or attribute that stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder what would happen if you could bottle that batch just as it is. Usually, this is where the accountants step in with their logical reasoning - scales of economy, cost allocations and all that other sensible stuff - but when we found a few rows of exceptional fruit in one of our premier blocks in 2014, we decided to keep the batch separate anyway!
The resulting wine was as spectacular as we had hoped, but from this small batch, one single barrel stood above all. The oak worked seamlessly with the fruit, and no matter how many different combinations with other barrels we tried to blend, this one single barrel remained on a higher level.
Now this brings us back to the accountants! We already knew they probably wouldn’t like the idea of a single batch, so we would have to be out of our minds to think they would agree to bottling a single barrel. The solution? We three winemakers took it upon ourselves to hand bottle, by gravity, this single barrel late one evening, with no fining and no filtering; just as it looked in barrel.
This wine shows incredible texture and weight, soft tannins and rich red fruits. We have held this limited bottling in our cellars for an additional two years, to allow the wine to develop towards its full potential. However, it will reward those patient types well into the next decade. 275 bottles available for $150 each. BUY NOW
- Winemaker Stew
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Cellar Door - Open 7 days 10am - 5pm
Restaurant - Lunch daily 11.45am - 2.30pm
(Closed Christmas Day)
370 Relbia Rd
Relbia TAS 7258
03 6335 8700