So what's going on here, how is it that some wines run marathons whilst others are the vinous equivalent of Usain Bolt?  Well, it's all about the different styles of wine and the role played by slow, gentle oxidation.  As wines mature they change. oxidative reactions take  fresh aromatic compounds and turn them into something less vibrant but more complex.  How much of this change we want depends on the style of wine we are making.

Aromatic whites like our 2013 All Saints Riesling and St Leonards Semillon Sauvignon Blanc are all about fresh, zippy flavours.  These wines are the sprinters and we aim to have them safely out of the winery and into bottle within a couple of months of vintage, in order to preserve as much as possible of the zesty fruit characters.

After that we will be bottling our 2012 Alias II Shiraz Muscadelle.  Here we have left the wine in barrel for a year and that time in wood has given oxygen its chance to work magic.   The tannins have softened and some richer, more complex characters have developed, but it is still full of life and lift.  It is a full-bodied red, but one where the intensity and freshness need to balance the texture and weight.

Then some Durif from 2010.  Admittedly, this is a bit of an oddity, a small batch that we held back as a reserve wine for special release   Three years in barrel is a long time for any wine, but Durif is no ordinary red!  As red wines age the oxygen that enters the wine through the wooden staves primarily interacts with the tannins.  As Durif is blessed with plenty of backbone it is well suited to lengthy maturation, either in oak or bottle.

Lastly, one of the ancient fortifieds, our Rare Muscat, components of which have been maturing for decades.  Much is made of the steady evaporative loss that drives the gradual concentration of the fortifieds, but oxygen plays its role too, resulting in the incredibly complex flavours and aromas of these stunning wines.

So, there you have it.  A few days of bottling on the way showcasing the full spectrum of age in winemaking.