Pollination of the grape flowers was affected by frequent strong, cool winds in late spring and early summer, resulting in a small crop of riesling grapes. The rest of the summer was splendid and the autumn was warm, dry and lingering. The berries became optimally ripe and flavoursome and retained good levels of natural acidity. We left the grapes hanging on the vines until winter. The early morning dews encouraged botrytis to grow on the berries and the warm days ensured that this remained clean and “noble”. It shrivelled the grapes to give not only extra concentration but to add its own special flavours. The fruit was then hand picked by making multiple passes through the vineyard, each separated by a week or more. We chose only grapes which were fully botrytic to go into this wine.
After selection the grapes were gently pressed, but because they were so raisin-like, very little juice was obtained. Following settling the clear juice from the top was removed and fermented at a cool temperature to help retain the natural fruitiness and unique flavours added by botrytis. Because the juice had been so syrupy the fermentation stopped while the wine was still sweet and as soon as this occurred it was removed from its yeast lees to maximise varietal purity and freshness. It was bottled soon after.
The aroma and flavour profile is multifaceted with impressions of lychees, paw paw, cantaloupe, passion-fruit and apricots. An overlay of honeysuckle, comb honey and beeswax comes from the botrytis. While it is mouth-filling and lusciously sweet, it is cut through with zesty acidity and tingling minerality which keep it focussed, elegant and in balance. The wine seems to expand on the palate and leaves a citrusy after-taste of lemons and limes.
The wine is ready to drink on release but with careful cellaring it should unfold an array of other fascinating nuances over the next 5 or 6 years and live for a decade or more.
Wine is a natural health food
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