Chardonnay a fine balance between winemaking and viticulture
Chardonnay is such a wonderful grape variety and we are seeing consistent critical appreciation of the style we make here. Sleekly honed, pure and mineral. By nature Chardonnay is the most complex of white wines, incorporating in its making so much of the winemaker’s craft. Site appreciation, clone, harvest method, pressing regime, juice management, ferment technique, malolactic technique, barrel choices and lees stirring all play their part – it has to be complex with all these choices!
The site is key – our China Terrace vineyard is located in the Bendigo sub region of Central Otago. Gently sloped on the lower edge of a large terrace (named China Terrace), it unfolds Pinot Noir and Chardonnay over some 6 hectares. Being over 320m in altitude, it balances daytime warmth with nocturnal cool. This, and the complex accumulation of loess, clay and schist in its soil, gives wines of fresh, bright complexity. The site perfectly ripens but doesn’t over-ripen fruit, retaining it’s freshness and clarity.
The 2015 growing season produced an excellent harvest. After a very cool spring, flowering in December happened quickly, with lighter yields. Dry, warm conditions through January lead to healthy and even ripening of smaller than average bunches. Sporadic rainfall in February ensured good soil moisture. By March, ripening was progressing as normal with perfect brix levels and slightly higher acid levels. Fruit was harvested clean, with a fine mineral crispness and excellent concentration. The vintage, lighter than normal, shows clear distinction of site and sub region.
The 2015 China Terrace Chardonnay exhibits a fine balance between winemaking and viticultural influences. Golden peach, honeydew and barrel aromas come through on the nose. The palate unfurls with beautiful delicacy, expanding generously yet with quiet grace. The impression is of finesse and elegance with layers of creamy fruit. A subtle minerality punctuates the finish.
Look out for it – it’s a personal recommendation from our Chief Winemaker Christopher Keys