Summer 2012-2013 was characterized by much higher pressures than normal over the Tasman Sea. Frequent highs produced very sunny weather and the resulting growing season was uncharacteristically dry for most of the country including Nelson. By the beginning of March the Waimea Plains were experiencing a significant water deficit. However mid to late autumn saw a number of low pressure systems and rain bearing fronts unsettling our nerves and threatening to spoil our beautiful crop. So harvest plans were thrown into top gear and Waimea’s vineyard and winery team put in a stoic effort to pull in our grapes in excellent condition and in record time.
Fruit for our Classic Riesling 2013 was harvested on the 13th and 14th April from two of our Estate vineyards the Hunter and Annabrook vineyards, both on the stony Waimea Plains. The Riesling was first up both mornings and arrived at the winery very early and very cold. Once at the winery the parcels of grapes were processed to the press and the press cycles carefully watched to separate out the free run and
light pressings from the heavier more phenolic pressings. The press cut was made when the extraction of flavour was good and just light dusty phenloics were beginning to show in the juice. We hoped to maintain the fresh aromatics typical to Riesling but also create a delicate phenolic
structure to the wine. The hard press component was treated separately but then returned to the bulk of juice as it is intensely flavoursome. The clarified juices were racked to their ferment tanks and inoculated with yeast strains chosen for its ability to enhance Riesling varietal characters. The ensuing cool ferments were arrested when the acid and sugar levels seemed in balance. The wines then spent a short time
on fine lees before blending and finishing for bottling late August.