The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces. It benefits from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes and thus creating a unique mesoclimate. The vines are over 30 years old, with a large proportion planted on their own roots. The soil is free draining and of low fertility, resulting in naturally reduced vine vigour. This produces low yields of optimally ripened, high quality, flavourful grapes, which fully express the qualities of this unique terroir. The vineyard has warm days, but the nights are amongst the coolest in the Waipara Valley, drawing out the ripening period of the grapes, while still retaining good natural acidity.
Settled weather during December provided optimal conditions for flowering. A very hot summer then enabled the grapes to ripen beautifully. Free draining stony soil helped mitigate the effects of some late summer rain, and the ensuing dry autumn meant the fruit was able to be picked in excellent condition with a portion of noble botrytis.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
Harvest was deliberately delayed until the berries had developed an ideal amount of botrytis. After picking, the grapes were crushed and then left in contact with their skins. Following pressing, the cloudy juice was transferred into old oak puncheons, where it was left to ferment naturally. The wine was then matured for approximately 6 months in these barrels prior to bottling.
The wine is deep straw in colour. The bouquet leaps out of the glass with lychee, quince and exotic spice, underscored with hints of Turkish delight and rose petal. Due to the varietal intensity of Gewurtz, some additional winemaking techniques have been employed to give the wine extra complexity. Skin contact and fermenting with solids provide increased structure and a subtle hint of struck match, while the oak aging and lees contact adds mouth feel. On the palate it is rich and unctuous, with ripe phenolics and a lingering aftertaste of fresh ginger that complement the wine’s off-dry finish.