Harvest 2016 was unusual in that it provided more than its fair share of challenges to test our nerve and skill as winegrowers. Spring rainfall was well below the norm-almost drought conditions, then a touch of hail, and then heavy rains. This resulted in a lot of pacing about vineyards and an intense obsession with weather forecasts! But our patience and perseverance was rewarded with some intensely flavoursome wines.
All five parcels of fruit were harvested very early morning so as to process the fruit icy cold. This helps to preserve aromatics and minimise phenolic pick up. We have significant skin contact time which we have found to promote flavour extraction in this sometimes overly subtle variety.
The pressing cycles were monitored and early press cuts made, each pressing fraction being treated separately. After three days cold settling to obtain a clarified juice each juice was racked off solids and the flavoursome pressing portions returned back to their original juice.
A selection of yeast was chosen for the ability to enhance body, texture and varietal aromas in the finished wine. Moderately cool ferments were employed in stainless steel tanks preserving freshness and fruit expression. Each of the five ferments were arrested with varying degrees of residual sugar. Each wine being carefully assessed to determine it's 'sweet spot' and overall balance while still considering how it would marry with the other components.
The wines were then aged on fine lees for several months to further enhance texture and richness on the palate. The most harmonious blend of these components was then debated and decided upon and the wine blended and prepared for its first bottling in July.