Vintage 2016 began with a settled and dry Spring resulting in great flowering and an excellent fruit set.
The settled weather continued up until the New Year when wet weather patterns became prevalent which continued into the harvest months. Careful attention to detail in the vineyard paid off with astonishing fruit quality in what was undoubtedly a most challenging growing season.
Our Chardonnay vineyards are categorized by being either hilltop with volcanic deposits in the soil which are also cooled by a combination of elevation and sea breezes, or steep sheltered sites in the valleys which are warmer and rich in clay. The hilltop ‘volcanic’ sites are gently whole bunch pressed to preserve their minerality whereas the richer more powerful fruit coming off the sheltered hillsides are crushed by foot and left to soak on their skins before pressing.
After pressing all parcels undergo wild fermentation on ‘full solids’ without any racking of the juice, temperature is unregulated and theyprogress to dryness in less than 10 days. This fermentation style contributes interesting savoury aromatics while the juice solids contribute tannin to the wine. Following fermentation the wine was left in barrel, un-sulphured on gross lees until late December when they received sulphur. In the New Year barrels were tasted again to confirm the blend and then bottled pre-vintage.
The balance that the two distinct groups of vineyards create is a wine that is powerful and rich (sheltered clay sites) yet tempered with fine acidity and aromatic high notes (volcanic), complemented by a certain level of savouriness, leading into tight pithy grapefruit-like tannin combining with fine barrel derived oak tannin.