Once every 10 years or so we experience a late spring frost, but in November 2018 we had quite a severe one. Some vineyards lost 100% of their crop and our sympathies go to them. At Porters, we harvested a paltry amount of fruit off the part of the vineyard that was least affected, which was in superb condition.

Frost essentially burns the soft, green tissue of the vines and if that tissue was the beginnings of the flower, then it’s au revoir to any substantial crop. The vine will put an effort into getting secondary fruit up and going, which is sometimes a viable option. This year we had little surviving crop and some sporadic second phase fruit, which of course creates its own problems with differing degrees of maturity of fruit. Some bunches are perfectly ripe and others are needing a further two weeks to get to the same point – even the most experienced picker would struggle to tell them apart and the resultant wine would not be of optimal quality.

Consequently, we identified a part of the vineyard that escaped the worst of the frost and nurtured that through to harvest, but a yield down to 20% of normal. That said, the wines are ticking through their malolactic fermentation and are showing wonderfully floral and red spice aromatics, lovely rich hues and a robust tannin presence. We look forward to seeing how these develop over the next 12 months.