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 North Island mid-April our fruit was now juice, happily fermenting in the winery.
Our Viognier was hand picked on the 12th April and whole bunch pressed. Free-run and light pressing juices were separated from the hard pressings. However once cold settled the pressings were such nectar that they were recombined with some free run juice giving us two tanks of Viognier to ferment. One juice was inoculated with a Rhône yeast selected to express stone fruit characters typical to this variety and the second with a yeast isolated in Burgundy – chosen for an excellent ability to add suppleness and volume on the palate. We fermented these juices in stainless steel tanks as we feel oak detracts from the subtle character of this wine. The ferments were carefully monitored to ensure their success and arrested when we felt that the fruit sweetness, acidity and phenolics were in harmony. The two wines then spent a short time on fine lees to further enhance palate weight and texture, before being blended and readied for bottling in the last week of July.