The 2010-2011 summer had near-record warm temperatures averaging at least 1.2°C above average for the Nelson region. More northwest winds than normal contributed to the warm temperatures and these provided a few deluges that kept both vineyard and winery staff on their toes. Fruit was monitored daily for optimum picking conditions and the winery was operating 24 hours a day seven days a week.
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested from Golden hills vineyard on the 14th of April. Once at the winery, the fruit was gently de-stemmed without crushing to small open top fermentation vats. Allowing some berries to remain whole means that those berries will undergo an internal fermentation, adding some buoyant primary fruit characters to the wine. The must was also cold soaked for 5 days during which time flavour and colour is steeped from the skins. The vats were then warmed for inoculation and a commercial yeast from the Rhone Valley was chosen for its ability to enhance mouth-feel and fruit concentration, and contributing to a spicy finish. During the ensuing ferment, the vats were hand-plunged twice daily, with temperatures peaking at 28-30°C, encouraging optimum tannin and colour extraction.
Once ferment had completed the wine and skins were left soaking, the alcohol now leaching more and different flavours from the skins, skin and seed tannins building in the wine. Some five weeks on from harvest date the wine was then pressed off skins, solids settled out and the wine racked to barrel.
A mixture of French and American oak has been used on this wine, 16% new oak, 41% 2nd year oak and the remainder seasoned oak. The wine was left in barrel to mature and complete malolactic fermentation for 10 months before blending to tank and finishing for bottling late March 2012.