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 ripen beautifully. Accelerated maturation 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
Traditional Burgundian winemaking methods were used to make this wine. We picked the various blocks at different stages, depending on their maturity, aiming for a range of red and dark fruit flavours. Approximately 40% of the grapes were put at the bottom of the fermentation vats as whole bunches, with the balance being destemmed on top, retaining as many whole berries as possible. The vats were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from the pinot noir skins. After approximately a week, the must started to ferment naturally. During fermentation the skins of the grapes were gently plunged twice daily. When the fermentation finished, the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for up to a week to help extract a different range of tannins that add structure and depth. The exact duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was gently pressed off and put into oak barriques (approx. 20% new), from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing for 18mths in these barriques, the wine was finally bottled.
Upon release it is deep ruby in colour. A complex patchwork of both red fruit and savoury aromas unfurl from the glass, with raspberry, cherry, and pomegranate soon giving way to mushroom, leather, vanilla and baking spice. Generous fruit weight is backed by bright acidity and silky tannins that rapidly expand in the mouth. This gives the wine a pleasing tension that excites the palate, creating length and setting up for a rewarding finish.