The growing season, summer 2011-2012 was very cloudy for Nelson, with many records broken. It was the wettest summer on record, and an almighty rain event in December combined with cool temperatures made for a worrying time going into harvest. Would we get enough warm weather in Autumn that we needed to fully ripen our grapes? To our great relief April was characterized by frequent highs resulting in very dry and sunny conditions. April sunshine hours being the highest on record for our region and fantastic afternoon maximum temperatures meant full ripeness was at last achieved.
Four of our Estate vineyards are represented in this wine, all are on the stony Waimea Plains. Parcels of different clones of fruit were harvested and processed with minimum crushing of the berries. The musts were then held at 10°C for a cold soak period of 5-8 days with the aim of extractingfruit characters and colour from the skins. The separate parcels were then fermented, yeast strains chosen to enhance specific clonal characters. During vigorous ferment the vats were pumped over twice a day to aid in extraction from the skins. Once the wines were dry they spent time soaking on the skins and were tasted daily to ascertain when the tannin structure was adequate. Once pressed off their skins, the wines had a short settling time before being racked off gross yeast lees and put to a barrel to undergo malolactic fermentation and oak maturation. A selection of French Coopers were chosen to help build the perfume, flavours and texture of this wine while still respecting the character of our Pinot off the Plains. After ten months in barrel the wines and individual barrels were assessed and our best blend assembled. The wine was then carefully prepared with a minimum of intervention for bottling.