Harvest 2015 was notable across the country for a smaller crop than previous seasons. Nelson experienced a spring that was cool, windy and dry, the region receiving only 45% of itsaverage rainfall for the season. Early December when the vines were flowering was particularly cool, with several dustings of snow on the ranges!
Just as the growing season got off to a slow start so did the start of harvest. We paced about the vineyards waiting for ripeness to be achieved. The upshot of the above conditions, and hence the smaller crop, being that we were rewarded with intensely flavoursome fruit.
The third, and possibly the best yet, this crop of Sauvignon Gris was harvested from our Hope vineyard on the 28th of March with generous, yet measured, sugar levels. Scheduled early in the day, it arrived at the winery nice and cold.
The fruit was 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. A press cut was made when the extraction of flavour was good and light, dusty phenolics were beginning to show in the juice. To draw out as much flavour as possible from this subtle, yet rich variety we fined the hard pressings and then returned it to a portion of the free run juice.
The settled juice was racked to two tanks for separate ferments, so that we could utilize two yeast strains to heighten the unique characters of this varietal. The ensuing ferments were monitored and arrested when the acid and sugar best emphasized the fruit characters.One of the wines then spent a short period of time on fine lees to build in yet another layer of interest and texture. The two wines were then combined and prepared for bottling on the 28th of July - exactly 4 months later!