Tscharke The Master Montepulciano 2020
Deep crimson colour. The nose is savoury, with herbal and spicy tones to support ripe cherry and red berry aromatics. A floral undertone lifts and freshens up the bouquet. The palate shows a well-defined structure of velvety tannins and lively acidity. Juicy fruit characters dominate and give sweetness to the mid-palate, the lingering finish shifts towards more savoury notes. Fresh and contemporary; this Montepulciano drinks best with food and can be aged for a decade or longer.
The fruit was hand-picked at sunrise. 90% of it was destemmed and crushed into two open fermenters, with the remaining 10% left as whole clusters. It was inoculated the same day. Twice daily pump overs, splashing, oxygenation and hand-plunging to manage the cap and ferment; with temperature always below 24’C to retain fresh aromatics.
After 10 days the skins and the still-intact whole bunches were pressed to tank to complete MLF. In May the wine was racked to French Hogsheads, 10% of which were new. 10 months later the wine was filtered and bottled.
The wines of 2020 vintage are proving to be of exceptional quality, despite the challenging growing season and very low yields. Winter rainfall was below average but a warm start to spring gave rise to even budburst and minimal frost events. The growing season was hampered by unseasonably high winds that delivered the biggest blow to the season, at flowering. Dry conditions, extremely high temperatures coupled with the strong winds destroyed up to 70% of flowers in some vineyards; Shiraz the worst affected. The ripening conditions were ideal, moderate temperatures and minimal rain provided very low risk to disease pressures. Supplementary irrigation was critical in nurturing the health of the vineyards and encouraging favourable fruit ripening.
The general quality of wines from 2020 has proven great to exceptional; rich in flavour, strong colour and ripe tannins. Many of the wines formed balance early during fermentation and those well-structured will age well. Standouts varieties include Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Shiraz and Montepulciano.