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Southern Hemisphere Harvest

Southern Hemisphere Harvest

Summer may be just around the corner for us in Bordeaux, but for the lands below the equator, summer has passed and the 2016 wine harvest is on its tail end. Though it is too early to give a report on all of the Southern Hemisphere’s harvest, here are a few tidbits from lands down under.

In Australia, there is a lot of positivity despite some distinct challenges. In Canberra, it was one of the earliest and hottest vintages on record. In Western Australia, there were unexpected periods of late rain, that caused a panic but was a counter balance to the hot summer. The yields are lower, but the quality is high.

South Africa has been working with a severe drought that has caused some lighter bunches and smaller berries. So though the yields are a bit lower, the quality is great. Which is great news as many vineyards were destroyed by a fire in January near Stellenbosch.

Chile and Argentina have also reported a warmer year with some earlier harvests. The feedback is very positive, though not much is reported as of yet. It may be too early to tell exactly what 2016 will bring for the Southern Hemisphere wines, but for now, you can enjoy the fantastic wines below to get a sense of what could come.

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Lou Miranda Estate – Old Vine Shiraz 2012
Australia - Barossa Valley – Red
90 Points
Good density of fruit. That liquorice and anise seed spiced dark fruit. There is still some roasted oak resistant on the palate. Rather a mild acidity, but nonetheless it is a wine with good grip and sensation of freshness on the finish.”

Emiliana – Signos de Origen La Vinilla 2014
Chile – Casablanca Valley - White
89 Points
I like this combination of ripe fruit with ripe freshness. There is a presence of extract there adding weight and length, however, not in terms of bitterness. So quite bold fruit, ripe grapes, good level of freshness. Juicy, delicious, yellow fruit and a fairly long finish. So a very interesting example.”

Trapiche – Pure 2014
Argentina – Mendoza – Malbec - Red
91 Points 
“It is juicy with a good level of freshness. Even though it has a nice density, but it is rather on the fruity side. The tannins are well integrated, grainy, with a fine underlying spiciness there, pepper, clove, with blackberry, cassis. Very discreet oak, but it is really what I would call a digest style, with a juicy long finish.”

Moss Wood – Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Australia – Margaret River – Wilyabrup - Red
90 Points
“I like this combination of those juicy black currants with plum. Really backed up by good nerve, fresh acidity. A fine drinkability, a rather long finish there with a fine spiciness; those hints of sage and mint giving a lift to the dark fruitiness. So a pretty wine with a fine drinkability already today.”

Viña Chocolan – Gran Reserva Blend 2012
Chile – Maipo Valley - Red
87 Points
Quite full-bodied here. Still with a dense and youthful texture. The tannins are quite marketed. Should definitely need some time to soften. However, the fruit is really attractive, with those dark berry notes, underlined by a fresh acidity, some of those herbal leafy, like tobacco, sage, mint.”

El Esteco – Chañar Punco 2012
Argentina – Cafayate Valley - Red
91 Points
“Rich dark fruit, again those hints of cassis, blackberry, blueberry, with plenty of extract. There are some slight herbal notes as well, such as mint, sage, some peppery notes. A little bit of oak noticeable on the palate as well, but the dominance is really that ripe inky, dark fruit. It is definitely got both power and persistence.”

Vina San Pedro – Sideral 2013
Chile – Cachapoal Valley – Red
91 Points
“Quite subtle and rounded texture. Sweet fruit with a quite mellow acidity there. There is a fine herbal spiciness going on, peppery notes. More fruit-forward style. No noticeable oak really. Quite a long finish. Still a bit youthful but already, thanks to the subtle texture, I think it should drink pretty well.”