Speaking to our Leading Ladies as vintage 2012 began, all the signs were positive for a ripper of a season, but as vintage now draws to a close it’s time to take stock of all the cuts and bruises, long hours and wine-stained clothing. The big question is, did vintage 2012 live up to everyone’s high hopes?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” from Victoria Miranda at Lou Miranda Estate, where they made their first Sagrantino this year: “It was a very strong year overall, with red varieties proving so far to live up to our initial high expectations,” she says.

“Cabernet in particular is showing excellent depth of flavour and wonderful tannins. We’re looking forward to putting our first vintage of Sagrantino into barrel and excited to see how it fares.”

It was all smiles from Rebekah Richardson, Group Sparkling and White Winemaker at Orlando Wines, as well. Beck says it was hard to go wrong this year: “The 2012 season overall was outstanding. With the combination of mild weather, excellent canopy health and fantastic flavour development. One thing we did see across the board was early flavour development in all varieties – this meant that we picked most of our fruit a week or two earlier than we normally would. The craziest was picking our Tasmanian Chardonnay the same week we picked our botrytis Semillon! That’s just unheard of!”

Beck couldn’t pick a stand-out variety at this stage but any way you look at it, she says, the 2012 season will see some amazing wines heading out to the consumer. “2012 is showing great depth of flavour, but due to the lower temperatures through the growing season the wines are also incredibly elegant – a powerful combination! The benefit of this is that with our early release wines such as the Jacob’s Creek Classic Sauvignon Blanc there are great flavours straight up. Then, for the wines for keeping such at the St. Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet, you will see excellent longevity,” says Beck.

Shelley Cox, Winemaker, St Hallett Wines has already reaped the reward for all her hard work over vintage – she’s off on maternity leave awaiting the arrival of her baby boy. “As vintage 2012 has now come to an end, I’ve been chatting to our team and sharing our reflections on the vintage that was… Our whites are fantastic, the balanced, zesty acidity of Semillon and delicate florals in Riesling have shown these varieties fared well, with Sauvignon Blanc from Eden Valley being the big surprise – it was full of varietal characteristics and “sweet as bro” to stand up to the best Kiwi SB!

“Our reds had superb tannin structure; Shiraz looks absolutely fantastic from all corners of the Barossa, with Grenache also achieving amazing flavour and tannin maturity at relatively low Baume. 2012 yields were down significantly, but having such great quality fruit without any weather upsets was still something our growers were smiling about!”

At the time of writing, Shelley is one week away from the due date of her first child, “I’m looking forward to meeting our son, and kicking back soon with some of our 2012 EV Riesling!”