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After the earliest vintage on record for us in 2016, 2017 was the exception that proved the rule. We have become used to compensating, dealing with heat and working to get elegance into our wines. However a cool spring and summer with above average rainfall has us thinking we were in for 2011 all over again (which was a really trying, cold and wet year). Luckily the gods and the sun smiled on us and mild, dry conditions persisted into April to ensure a long ripening period with moderate sugar levels and generous natural acidities. Some no doubt got caught trying to ripen excessive yields but our vineyards performed admirably, and the flavours were full and peppery and juicy. The resulting wines are cool, classic, spicy and possibly my favourite of the last 15 years. They remind me of the wines we used to get before the climate was changed. Dark, minerally syrah with regional pepper and luscious cassis. It’s great for its youthful verve now but it will certainly reward patience. Westgate and Hyde Park Vineyards once more delivering beautiful grapes but this year with added depth and acidity. We toned back the whole bunches as there was already plenty of spice, so the fruit really sings.