The show must go on…

Wine / Friday, March 20th, 2020

This week we said farewell to our friend Wal Milne at a service in Mundulla. It was sad but beautiful and truly fitting for a man who was loved so much by so many.

While Wal’s illness and passing have taken up much of our brain space over the past few weeks, the world outside of our grieving family, it seems, has been busy falling apart!


If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. Everywhere you turn there is some reminder of this strange and uncertain time we are all experiencing. Bare supermarket shelves, cancelled events, social media feeds filled with a never-ending stream of news reports.

Even as I write this, the local paper is sitting in front of me with its headline “CALL FOR CALM” in enormous, shouty capital letters.

It’s all too much!

The only thing keeping me calm right now is knowing that some parts of our world are carrying on with business as usual. And given vintage 2020 is in full swing and undeterred by the virus causing so much panic across the globe, the wine industry (at least the parts that weren’t affected by the bushfires) is doing just that. 

And good on it, I say. Someone has to make the wine that is going to get us all through this thing!


So, let’s turn to Rob now for a Somerled vintage 2020 update…



As of today, we have three wines fermenting away happily at Lodestone winery…

2020 Chardonnay

The Chardonnay is all now in some very nice barrels, not all brand new, as we do not want chardonnay dominated by oak aromas and flavours.  But the barrels are a nice blend of ages, the oldest being first used in 2016 – not so long ago!

The wine is still fermenting and has a few days to go until all the sugar is fermented out.  So the wine is quite cloudy, still with lots of gas from the fermentation and almost a little gritty from all the yeast. The aromas are terrific – lots of the typical white peach, but also with a subtle “banana ester” background.  The palate is still sweet. It has a slightly high acid and has lovely flavours that mirror the aromas.  

It’s hard to tell with the sweetness still there, but my feeling is that the wine will be quite soft. Part of this could well be due to the relatively low alcohol that the wine will finish up with.  Remember that we picked the fruit during some drizzly weather, and that kept the sugar level down a bit.  


2020 Pinot Noir Rose

There’s just one little tank of this wine.  It’s just commencing the serious part of fermentation, so is very sweet still.  The aromas are lifted and flowery (not particularly like pinot noir) and clean and zingy.  The palate is zingy too. The acidity is quite marked, but that will be brought back into balance by the malolactic fermentation (MLF).  

It’s a bit early to make the call on things like flavour intensity, length of flavour etc.  Let’s wait until this yeast fermentation has finished, and when MLF starts.


2020 Light Dry Red Pinot Noir

Like the chardonnay, this wine is now in barrels, unfortunately not very many!  It too is fermenting away, although it has very nearly fermented all the way out.  It has been inoculated with MLF bacteria, but that may take a bit to get going.  Colour is pale/medium with quite a nice hue.  The nose has an attractive prune/plum fragrance to it and is clean and quite “deep” in nature.  This carries on to the palate which is very bracingly acidic.  But never fear, the very useful little MLF bugs will chew a lot of the malic acid up, spit out lactic acid and generally reduce the overall level of acidity in the wine.  Flavours are quite gentle and nice and in time will match the lovely aromas.



On the grape side of things, there are two or three irons in the fire currently…

McLaren Vale Shiraz

I visited McLaren Vale vineyards with Mike Farmilo last week and was impressed with how nice the fruit looked.  I love shiraz which has small/medium berries, loose bunches and bunches which are evenly distributed through the canopy.

And that’s exactly what I saw in McLaren Vale – not big crops, but some beautifully flavoured fruit.  

Looks like another terrific vintage from down there, maybe more from a winemaking point of view rather than from the grape grower’s though, as the crops are pretty small.


Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir for dry red

Through the generosity of Maximilian Hruska we are going to get a tonne of pinot noir from his very nice vineyard at Verdun.  This will be handpicked this morning!.  And this is being helped along enormously by Hugh Armstrong and his friend Tim Murphy who have arranged to pick up bins from Lodestone, deliver them to the vineyard and then to collect the full bins and take them back to Lodestone for crushing – fabulous!!


Adelaide Hills Tempranillo

It’s looking as though Kim Anderson’s Tempranillo may have escaped serious smoke damage.  Kim will let us know for sure within the next couple of days, but I’m very willing to give the grapes a try.

It’s still not quite ripe, but the fruit looks terrific – more on that soon.



And it’s business as (not-so) usual for the Cellar Bar too!

Remember… our doors are still open at the cellar bar in Hahndorf. And even if we need to close our doors at some stage, we will still be available to take your orders. Via phone, email, website or carrier pigeon. Whatever it takes!

We can’t send you toilet paper or baked beans, but we can make sure your cellar is well stocked with the one thing that is really going to help us through!

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