Unsettled weather over flowering resulted in a lighter than average set, meaning that no further fruit thinning was necessary. A classic North Canterbury summer then enabled this smaller crop to mature beautifully. Accelerated ripening allowed harvest to take place slightly earlier than usual, and favourable autumn weather ensured the grapes were picked in perfect condition.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
This wine is made in the same style as the celebrated Claret from Bordeaux, using traditional methods. After being picked in late April, the grapes began fermentation naturally in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly pumped over the cap of floating grape skins (rather than plunging), to ensure a perfect tannin balance was extracted from the fruit. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques (10% new). The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing in oak for 12 months, the various batches were then carefully blended in varying portions to produce the most complex and balanced wine possible. The finished product is predominately Merlot, with the remainder comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and a small amount of Cabernet Franc.
On release the colour is intense garnet, its nose a bewitching plethora of black fruit and savoury aromas. Dark cherry, blackcurrant and plum are straddled by earthy notes of truffle and leather, along with woodsmoke, mixed spice and a hint of wet gravel. The palate is full bodied yet succulent, the larger Merlot component providing plush, ripe, fine-grained tannins and generous fruit weight. Balancing this is a backdrop of structure and backbone afforded by the Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, arming the wine with appealing complexity, depth, and a lasting finish.