The year started with lots and lots and lots of rain in spring and early summer. It looked like the season would be a repeat of last year. But then the rain stopped, and seemed like it was never going to come back. Those warm and hot summer days resulted in a perfect vintage with no disease pressure at all.
As in previous years we made use of some delightful French backpackers to help out with vintage. They were really good - hard working and always happy to put in the 10 and 12 hour days that we sometimes required. The wines are now in barrel and tanks maturing, and we are enjoying some rather easier days.
The 2009 Shantell Pinot Noir has just been released. It is a very special wine - lots of complexities and flavours reflecting that very special bush fire vintage. The hint of smokiness is well balanced by the intenisites of the fruit flavours and the high alcohol. We would love to share a sample with you next time you visit cellar door and/or the restaurant.
Our previous chef, David Johnson, left at the end of December after 4 years at Shantell, to take on new challenges. He took it upon himslef to make sure that we had a suitable replacement to take over after his departure. The new chef, Philip Oliver, started just after Christmas. His new menu has been very well received - his own interpretation of what we do at Shantell. My favourites are the Duck Tortllini and the Scallops Risotto. If meat is your preferred option, we still have pork, beef, lamb and kangaroo plus a vegetarian option on the menu.
We look forward to seeing you in the restaurant and at the cellar door on your next visit to the Yarra Valley.