Vintage 2017

What a season of rainfall. It rained during pruning and the Moorabool River flooded. It rained during budburst and the Moorabool River flooded. It rained at Christmas and created more humidity than we have seen in Bannockburn. Through out the growing season everything was happening in a timely fashion if not a little late, which was fine as we could not keep up with the growth at some stages.

As we moved towards harvest the vineyard was looking amazing after such great rainfall and a very mid summer. Expectations where very high.

Harvest started on the 9th of March, which is about a week later than normal. The fruit was quite intense and balanced as a result of a longer cooler season.

After three significant rain events during March and April we finally finished picking shiraz on the 24th of April. Two rows of Botrytis Viognier where left out until 17th May though. It has been the latest harvest we have ever experienced in Bannockburn

With extended time and cool ripen conditions we are very happy with the results that are not that dissimilar to the 2016 vintage. Good acidity, fine tannins and best of all savoury and elegant fruit flavours.

 

 

Vintage 2016

The 2016 Vintage scene was dominated by fluctuating temperatures and conditions. An unseasonably warm May and June followed by a very cool and wet July August had us on edge.

Budburst was early by two to three weeks and therefore the trend continued through fruit set and verasion. It was a warm summer but thankfully without any extreme heat.

Towards the end of January we received good rains and thunderstorms which maintained vine health to a much later picking date than what was expected. What we thought was going to be a very quick and abrupt vintage starting on the 18th Feb, didn't finish until we picked the last of Farrside pinot on the 31st of March and Irrewarra vineyard on the 1st of April. It is the second year in a row that the weather has been very favorable during the end of February, helping to slowly ripen the fruit and hopefully develop more structure and fine tannins.

The wines from this vintage seem extremely fine and mineral driven. As more wines are release from this vintage you will see the approachability and elegance of a cool vintage for the Farr’s.

 

 

Vintage 2015

I am writing these notes some 12 months after the event and with much reflection on the wines that have been produced.

I am generally quite reserved about the future of any of our wines, but the potential of 2015 wines is quite obvious.

The overall season was quite balanced in temperature and rainfall. After quite low yields of the 2014 vintage, this years results where back to average through the older vineyards and slightly higher for the young ones.

After another quite dry winter we relied on continuous rain events throughout the growing season. By mid to late January the vines where looking great and after much canopy maintenance they where in perfect balance. An early February summer storm finished the season off nicely and fulfilled the seasons potential. The sublime texture and structure of these wines is accredited to the very mid to cool temperatures we experienced during February.

Picking started during the last week of February for a couple of the thirstier soil types but really got under way from the 3rd of March when Tout Pres was harvested.

The fruit had fantastic acidity and flavour from even ripening and the extended cool days and nights during the ripening period.

It is a credit to the vines that in balanced healthy fruit years that the fermentation follows suit and is extremely easy.

As the reds continue to mature and become more defined in barrel, the whites have been bottled and are starting to filter out to the market.

The most exciting wine from this vintage with out doubt is the new “GC Chardonnay by Farr”. A new wine that has been in the making for over 40 years. With all the knowledge that l have been able to extract from my father (Not always easy) we created a close planted / high density planting of chardonnay and pinot noir on a exposed cote. These hillsides facing east, north east and north will be the backbone of the Farr density for decades to come. They consist of the most suitable clones, rootstocks, trellising and management you fill find. This is our tribute to what Gazza has achieved and provoked over 40 years not only in our region but for chardonnay and pinot noir of Australia.

Look out for “The Farr” pinot noir also from the Cote site, we have been playing around with this fruit for 10 years and can not wait to show it off.

The Farr Family

 

 

 

Harvest 2014

The season started well with average rainfall during a slightly warm winter which became an early Spring because of the warm conditions. The start to the growing season was very strong but rapid, and we were challenged to keep up with the amount of canopy growth and therefore management. The vines looked fantastic leading up to flowering which was perhaps a week earlier than normal.

An extended cold, wet and windy period over the end of October into November resulted in a prolonged flowering period and resulted in poorer fruit set and lower potential yields.

The cold period continued on in to December, by this point we certainly realized that yields were going to be a lot lower than average. By mid January a couple of heat waves had passed through and it was regarded as a warm summer. With the warm end to the season combined with low yields we expected harvest to start early yet the vines where in excellent health and held there acidity until picking during the first week of March.

It was concerning to see empty vats in the winery but the quality of the fruit was great. The yields were down 40% which is comparable to 2002 and 2007 yet the flavours of 2014 where far more complex, deep and longer perhaps because of extra week the fruit spent on the vine.

 

The 2014 vintage will age quite gracefully with the concentration that comes with smaller vintages. A vintage we have found to be very perfumed in the barrel and now in bottle. Wines which have great direction, power and enjoyment from the Moorabool Valley.

 

 

Harvest 2013

The season leading into the 2013 harvest started well, with above average rainfall during winter setting us up for a good spring and budburst. The vines looked fantastic leading up to flowering, which was perhaps a week earlier than normal. This was most likely due to the very little rain we had from 1 October until 26 November, during which time we received only 12mm. The dryness saw large cracks opening up in the black clay soils, but thankfully the straw mulching once again prolonged any moisture influence on the growth and fruit set.

The dry period during spring set the scene for what was to follow. With patches of rain leading up to Christmas there was enough moisture and warmth during flowering and into véraison for the vines to produce a good and healthy crop level. The great thing about our vines gathering vine age, is that they acclimatise to the conditions of the season, and produce only the amount of fruit they can handle.

The final stages of the season were quite warm, but it was the extended dry conditions that dictated the flavour and elegance of the 2013 vintage, which seems similar to the 2005 vintage. The young wines are very expressive of fruit and flavour, which I enjoy because of the deliciousness and approachability. They speak of site differences, but in a very different way to the subtlety of the 2011 vintage. Vintage 2011 spoke of subtlety, while 2013 speaks of fruitfulness and richness.

The wines of 2013 will certainly be crowd-pleasers.

Nick Farr 

 

 

Wine By Farr—Vintage 2012

The 2012 season kicked off with good soil moisture levels at budburst, which had carried on from the wet autumn of 2011 with small but regular rain events during the winter also helping. The vine growth was even but generally quite slow due to damp, cool and windy conditions. Fortunately, mid to late November was a little warmer and the wind dropped on cue, and the vines began to flower. Many vineyards in other regions of Victoria weren’t so lucky and struggled with fruit set, resulting in low yields. We received normal yields across all varieties.

The wind returned and the ever-changing conditions of the season continued. By the end of December, the canopy and fruit load looked well balanced and very healthy. From this point it seemed that “healthy” was going to be the word that best described the season and resulting fruit.

There was very little rain from the start of January until the end of February and therefore little to no disease pressure during bunch development and véraison. The vineyards received irrigation during the last week of January to the first week of February to freshen up the canopy, at that stage we didn’t know rain was on the way.

Harvest started with the picking of By Farr Chardonnay on 24 February and Sangreal on 25 February. After that a small period of rain slowed down harvest for four or five days, but it began again on 2 March and continued until the shiraz was picked on 28 March.

Overall the fruit looked and tasted fantastic. Acidity made for fresh wines and the structured flavour is long and savoury. The keys to this vintage were patience and restraint. In years where fruit and canopy are balanced without stress, our fermentations are smooth and uneventful—just the way we like them.

The whites have the flavour of 2010, and the strong mineral elements and length of the 2011. This could well turn out to be the best chardonnay we have made. As for the reds, all the components are there for these wines to evolve into a great vintage over time.

2012 has delivered us wines that are delicious right from the moment they’re bottled, while still having so much to show. l hope you enjoy these wines as much as l have enjoyed seeing them come to life.

“Wine with attitude”

Nick and The Farr Family

 

 

Vintage Report 2011 By Farr

What a vintage! Not since the cold and tiny vintage of ’02 have we seen temperatures so low over the ripening period. Added to that was the rain that started in September and didn’t let up until mid April, meaning there wasn’t a week where we could take our finger off the pulse and relax. The producers who, like us, had some favourable conditions and were able to withstand the disease pressure will be extremely happy and excited about the prospect of this vintage. 

Budburst occurred at the normal time, unlike the past two vintages, which had been early. After an intensive six-year mulching program to trap moisture, the abundance of water flowing through the vineyard this year might have brought it all undone, but in fact the straw helped to drain the water away from the root zone once the soil profile was full.

The very long, wet and cool growing conditions resulted in the best acid and pH levels in 20 years. The yields were high at about 2.5 tonnes per acre, but this didn’t impact the flavour and quality of the fruit. We were seeing flavours in the juice that we had not seen before, and this is what kept us pushing through the mud and water over vintage.

Harvest started on 20 March but didn’t really get going until 28 March, two weeks later than normal. However, once it started it didn’t stop for three weeks. Even ripening across the vineyards caused all varieties to be ready at once, putting pressure on the team to find tank space.

Fermentation of both reds and whites was fantastic—whites going through smoothly at cool temperatures, and the reds needing little intervention for extraction. We have never before had every chardonnay barrel finished and dry three weeks after harvest. This was a very balanced year of flavour and acid. The reds have also been a dream—they are already showing amazing character and a large percentage malolactic finish in tank, unheard of in our experience at By Farr. The limited amount of sunshine this year means colours were not as intense, but these have built in the barrel—proving that great vintages make themselves.

The extreme weather conditions this year taught us a lot more about our site, including the way different soil types react to large amounts of water.  

Years like this, so very different to the past five or six years of dry conditions, are so much more exciting for winemaking.

2004 was good, 2006 was special, 2008 was exceptional and 2010 evolving—but 2011 will be the year the Europeans won’t be able to say there is too much sunshine in the glass!        

Nick Farr

 

 

The 2010 Vintage Release by the Farr Family

The philosophy behind the By Farr label is passion, persistence, and patience.

By Farr wines are made exclusively from grapes from our vineyards at Bannockburn, Victoria. The exposed site on north/northeast undulating slopes and the rich volcanic soils over limestone lend unique characters to the wine. Nick and Gary Farr have 45 years of experience between them, and share an unrivalled attention to detail when it comes to making their extraordinarily individual and complex layered wines.

We are pleased to release the next chapter of the Farr family’s exploits—the 2010 vintage. The team has decided that the wines have started to open and show their individual characters.

Vintage 2010 was an exciting one as a winemaker—all the elements and factors of viticulture came together harmonically during the season, providing an opportunity to make wines of beautifully balanced ripeness and excellent regional and individual site expression. Cool winds during flowering and an average spring rainfall, followed by a warm, dry finish to the season resulted in average to slightly below average cropping levels, yet high-quality small, open bunches with small berries. Once again our intensive mulching program and organic matter covering the soil to preserve moisture resulted in little to no irrigation required for the season. It is amazing how resolute grapevines can be, and the Farr vineyards continue to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the past 10 vintages, which have each made their own contribution to the different site and soil characteristics of the By Farr vineyards. Every extra year counts, and this year our maturing vines have produced perhaps some of the best fruit we have seen thus far.

Harvest began a week to 10 days earlier than usual due to the warm, dry end to a near perfect season in Bannockburn. We started with a parcel of By Farr chardonnay and Tout Pres on 22 February and finished with shiraz on 27 March. Even ripening across all varieties exhibited great flavour, colour and great natural acidity that showed freshness.    

Fermentation of the white wines was effortless at low temperatures over a six-week period, with both primary and secondary fermentation finishing before winter really set in. The fruit was whole bunch pressed and fermented in barrel, and racked the day before bottling. The reds needed little intervention, and a high amount of whole bunches were again used during the vintage because of the great lignification of stems. Open-top fermenters and daily pigeage were used, and despite continually tasting the ferments, it was not until pressing that we really started to appreciate the balance, structure and aroma of the vintage, which showing signs of delicacy, a good perfume and a refined wine style.

Another season to help us learn more about the parameters of our unique site, with which we continue to grow.

Gary and Nick Farr

Wines by Farr 

If you require bottle shots or further notes, please contact the winery on

03 52 811 733 or email:  wine@byfarr.com.au

 

 

The 2009 Vintage Release by the Farr Family

The philosophy behind the By Farr label is passion, persistence and patience.

By Farr wines are made exclusively from grapes from our vineyards at Bannockburn, Victoria. The exposed site on north/northeast undulating slopes and the rich volcanic soils over limestone lend unique characters to the wine. Nick and Gary Farr have 45 years of experience between them, and share an unrivalled attention to detail when it comes to making their extraordinarily individual and complex layered wines.

Gary and Nick are delighted to announce the release of the 2009 vintage. These are extraordinary wines from an extraordinary year.

The opinion of many people is that the 2009 season was a warm one because there were five days over 40 degrees, but in fact it was quite cool to mild except for those days. We had acceptable spring rains and a warm start to the season followed by a cool finish, which was the opposite of the 2008 vintage. Budburst occurred at the normal time, as opposed to the previous two vintages, which were early. After six years of an intensive mulching program to trap moisture, the straw proved vital to producing fruit this year, maintaining just enough moisture and keeping the soil temperature lowered throughout the summer months.

The fruit was picked at very close to normal picking dates, after a shorter than usual véraison period.  It was a near perfect season in Bannockburn, with crop levels slightly below average and fantastic colour in the grapes. The heatwave accelerated the ripening during véraison, causing quite a strong tannin profile in all of the wines. Harvesting started on 3 March and carried through until 25 March. The larger-than-life tannins needed to be harnessed during fermentation and left to mature in barrel.

It was a testing vintage that needed patience, but the wines have settled beautifully. As a young wine this is a vintage that perhaps speaks more of the year than the terroir, but there is great potential for it to age well. It is in the future that the soil of these wines will truly shine through.

The whites fermented smoothly at low temperatures over a six-week period, and the reds needed little intervention for extraction because of the natural flavours of the vintage. It was a year of extreme flavours and finding a balance between acidity and oak for a harmonious wine. It was a vintage that will be remembered for the heat spike and grippy long tannins, and was another season coming to grips with the parameters of our unique site—a strong reminder that we have very little control over the expressions of our land.

Gary and Nick Farr

Wines By Farr  

If you require bottle shots or further notes, please contact Fireworks Promotions on (03) 95253111 or email: kathylane@fireworkspr.com.au

Vintage Report 2008 by Farr

This vintage produced great conditions for both white and red wines, thanks to the near perfect timing of rain in early November and December providing ideal growing and ripening conditions. Quality was exceptional across the board, with the reds being well structured and expressive with particularly long-ageing potential, and the whites very focused with strong mineral elements.

Budburst occurred at the normal time, unlike the past three vintages, which had been early to very early. Some irrigation was required during a heat spell over the Christmas and New Year period, but from then on we enjoyed a mild summer and warm autumn and the characteristics of these are exhibited in the wines. The fruit was as dry grown as possible for Bannockburn—considering we had an empty dam—but the mulching program over the past four years has really paid off.

The perfect growing conditions resulted in the best acid and pH levels in 20 years. The yields were high at about 2.25 tonnes per acre, but this had no impact on the flavour or quality of the fruit.

Harvest started slightly early on the last weekend of February, but once it started didn’t stop for three weeks. There was very even ripening across the vineyards, and all the grapes being ready at once put pressure on the winemaker to find tank space.

Fermentation of both red and white was fantastic—whites going through smoothly at cool temperatures and the reds needing little intervention for extraction. As in Burgundy 2005, great vintages make themselves.

2004 was good and 2006 was special, but 2008 should be exceptional.

Gary and Nick

By Farr  

 

 

The 2007 Vintage Release by the Farr Family

The philosophy behind the By Farr label is passion, persistence and patience.

By Farr wines are made exclusively from grapes from our vineyards at Bannockburn, Victoria. The exposed site on north/northeast undulating slopes and the rich volcanic soils over limestone lend unique characters to the wine. Nick and Gary Farr have 45 years of experience between them, and share an unrivalled attention to detail when it comes to making their extraordinarily individual and complex layered wines.

Many people think that the 2007 season was a warm one due to the dry conditions, but in fact it was quite cool to mild. Budburst occurred at the normal time, as opposed to the previous two vintages, which were early. After six years of an intensive mulching program to trap moisture, the straw proved vital to producing fruit this year, maintaining just enough moisture and keeping the soil temperature lowered throughout the summer months. Due to the large structure from a low-cropping year—the average levels across the property were 1.1 tonnes per acre—we knew it was going to take patience not to overextract during fermentation and a lot of time in the barrel for the wine to soften.   

The dry conditions led to very small crop load and early harvesting. As a result of the harsh conditions of what was one of the driest spring/summers on record, the fruit developed amazing colour and big tannins, but the weather was not overly hot and the flavours remained well balanced. These larger-than-life tannins needed to be harnessed during fermentation and left to mature in barrel.

As a young wine this is a vintage that perhaps speaks more of the year than the terroir, but there is great potential for it to age well. It is in the future that the soil of these wines will truly shine through.

Gary and Nick Farr

Wines By Farr  

 

 

Vintage Report 2005 By Farr

This vintage produced great conditions for both white and red wines, thanks to the near perfect timing of rain in early November and December providing ideal growing and ripening conditions. Quality was exceptional across the board, with the reds being well structured and expressive with particularly long-ageing potential, and the whites very focused with strong mineral elements.

Budburst occurred at the normal time, unlike the past three vintages, which had been early to very early. Some irrigation was required during a heat spell over the Christmas and New Year period, but from then on we enjoyed a mild summer and warm autumn and the characteristics of these are exhibited in the wines. The fruit was as dry grown as possible for Bannockburn—considering we had an empty dam—but the mulching program over the past four years has really paid off.

The perfect growing conditions resulted in the best acid and pH levels in 20 years. The yields were high at about 2.25 tonnes per acre, but this had no impact on the flavour or quality of the fruit.

Harvest started slightly early on the last weekend of February, but once it started didn’t stop for three weeks. There was very even ripening across the vineyards, and all the grapes being ready at once put pressure on the winemaker to find tank space.

Fermentation of both red and white was fantastic—whites going through smoothly at cool temperatures, and the reds needing little intervention for extraction. As in Burgundy 2005, great vintages make themselves.

Gary and Nick

Wines By Farr