2022 Q & A with Alexandra Wardlaw, Winemaker at Kirrihill
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
From the Champagne region, a small town called Villenauxe-la Grande. I studied winemaking for 4 years in Avize, a beautiful little town in the Cotes des Blancs.
WHEN DID YOU ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA?
January 2018. I originally planned on staying for just one vintage at Kirrihill, so not much in the suitcase. 4.5 years later, I’m still here!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE KIRRIHILL?
For its renowned cool climate Riesling as well as its proximity to the Yorke Peninsula and Adelaide. Our beautiful little Clare Valley is the perfect spot to enjoy a vintage coming from overseas and discover all things South Australia.
HOW MANY VINTAGES AT KIRRIHILL?
Vintage 2022 was my 5th with Kirrihill and my 3rd in a winemaking role.
WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT CLARE?
Firstly, I love Clare because this is where I met my husband Sam, we actually met at Kirrihill! We have a one-year-old son named Oliver. I decided to start a family in Clare because this region represents everything I value, a strong and dynamic local community, innovative and humble winemakers. It’s one big family and it makes up for being away from mine in France.
I’m passionate about developing my skills to become a wine show judge. This is the best way to get to know more about all aspects of Australian wine and be involved in the wine community.
Looking ahead – a review of the 2022 vintage at Kirrihill
We were blessed with almost perfect ripening conditions in Clare throughout spring and summer. Good rainfall and cool weather allowed our grapes to ripen in a consistent manner leading to stunning levels of acidity and optimum maturity in our Riesling and reds. The moderate temperatures in January and February resulted in a slight delay in picking, but this allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and gently, producing premium fruit for our winemakers to showcase their skill and expertise.
We harvested our Clare Riesling two weeks later than normal, with picking commencing on the 1st of March and by the 15th of March, all the Riesling was in tank and happily fermenting. We are delighted by the depth of colour in our 2022 reds which are now almost through malolactic fermentation. This year we had access to grape varieties including Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Malbec and Grenache, an exciting range for our winemakers and vintage staff.
Over the 2022 vintage, we worked with varieties and techniques new to the Kirrihill stable, a perfect opportunity for our winemakers to use their skill, flair and have some fun. With the addition of small batches, including a parcel of Grenache from Clare, whole bunch fermentation of Grenache from the Barossa and hand selected Shiraz from our iconic Schobers vineyard, we are excited about the wines the 2022 vintage will deliver.
It’s been a cracker of a vintage for the Kirrihill team and we couldn’t have done it without our brilliant vintage staff that joined us locally and from interstate. Despite challenges presented by covid travel restrictions, we were delighted to also have a strong international contingent joining us from Canada, France, South Africa and China.
Our wines already look amazing, reflecting Clare characteristics. The Riesling is pristine and limey with an appealing acid drive. The Shiraz has depth and texture with lovely red fruits and spices, the Cabernet shows blue fruit characteristics, is well balanced and has a lovely bright fruit spectrum. With the variation in conditions of each vintage, changing flavour profiles present the team with an opportunity to work with beautiful fruit, innovate and to create something special, that we know you will love to drink and share.
For more information about Kirrihill , please visit their website