Eden Valley – 2004
The average winter rainfall this season was a welcome relief after 2003’s fourth-worst drought in history. The soil profile was filled at last, as were most growers’ dams. A relatively frost-free, wet, warm and thundery spring followed, which created a natural ‘greenhouse’ effect for the vines. They grew vigorously, flowered and in general set a large crop.December was the hottest for 10 years, however at the start of 2004 the weather became mild and windy, tempered by the cool southerlies off the ocean. The month of January was the coolest since 1992 and the vines thrived with virtually no heat stress.Since the start of February, traditionally the hottest month, everyone’s worst fears were realised, with searing heat causing sunburn and significant crop losses. New records were broken with South Australia experiencing its hottest day ever. Fortunately March returned the region to glorious sunny days and cold dewy nights, with a couple of minor rain events, allowing the fruit to ripen under perfect conditions.The vintage was almost as late as 2002. Where crop thinning was done, the season produced excellent wines with a seamless elegance.