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.
The first crop from our Sauvignon Gris planting, this was harvested from our Hope vineyard on the 27th March, at 23 Brix. First up on the schedule that day it arrived at the winery very early morning, nice and cold. The fruit was then processed gently and quickly to the press. The press cycle was carefully monitored, the free run and lightly pressed juice separated from the heavier more phenolic hard 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 draw out as much flavour as possible from this richly flavoured variety and as such fined the hard pressings but then returned it to the main juice once clarified and racked. A yeast strain was chosen that we have enjoyed in the past on other varieties for its ability to add real lusciousness to the wine but also good aromatics. The ensuing ferment was monitored and arrested when the acid and sugar best emphasized the fruit characters in this wine. The wine then spent a short period of time on fine lees to build a layer of fat into the wine before being stabilized and crossflow filtered for bottling late August.