Chalmers Project Bush Vine Negroamaro 2019
In the last few years Chalmers have been developing an exciting, new experimental vineyard in Merbein. It’s a hot, dry site and is a small block located on a sandy hill, planted to Inzolia (white) and Negroamaro (red) as bush vines. This ‘alberello’ (little tree) style of planting is found across southern Italy, and the planting density typically depends on the variety and natural rainfall. Ours is quite spaced out at just 1600 vine per hectare allowing each vine enough area to access the low amount of natural rainfall we have in the Murray Darling region We have set up ’emergency’ overhead irrigation for this block and only water when absolutely necessary as we aim to simulate the natural rainfall in Southern Italy where these two varieties are native too. The average amount of natural rainfall and irrigation combined each growing season is approximately just 250ml. Weed control is managed only by cultivating and is a crucial part of the vineyard management as to not let weeds compete with the small amount of water the vineyard have access to. No chemicals or any sprays at all are used on this prized block at Chalmers, the only application is composted cow manure.
Over the last three years during pruning we have been trialing finding the perfect buds/vine balance and shape of the ‘tree’ for fruit positioning. The block typically grows about 4 tonnes per hectare. Very interesting viticultural management for a region that typically grows commercially set up vineyards producing about 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
This 2019 Chalmers Project Bush Vine Negroamaro is out first project wine released from the site. We have bottled just 5 dozen.
The wine is incredibly appealing with an attractive warm fruit brightness. It’s medium weight, smooth, rounded and fresh. The nose is fragrant, and the palate easily sits somewhere similar to an earthy, fruit driven Pinot Noir or Grenache.
Worth a try. Get it while it lasts!