Harvest 2014 was notable for the excellent quality of fruit produced thanks to a season that was warm and dry for Nelson. Excellent concentration of flavours and ripeness levels were reached several weeks earlier than expected, resulting in an early start to harvesting in the second week of March. Fortuitously this meant that when more than 200mm of rain hit the upper South Island mid-April our fruit was now juice, happily fermenting in the winery.
The fruit for our Classic Riesling 2014 was harvested on the 12th and 13th of Aprils 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 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 phenolics 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 the juice as it was intensely flavoursome. The clarified juices were racked to their ferment tanks and inoculated with a German yeast strain chosen for its ability to enhance and maintain the purity of fruit characters in Riesling. The ensuing cool ferments were arrested when a moreish level of sugar still remained but was well balanced by the acidity. The wines then spent a short time on fine lees before blending and finishing for bottling late August.