Marlborough Growing Season 2014 The growing season commenced with a warm and settled spring, enabling an early budburst and excellent flowering conditions. By the end of December, Growing Degree Days were ahead of the long-term average, setting the scene for excellent shoot growth and fruit set. Summer conditions remained warm and dry throughout the mid-season. This provided for healthy vine canopies, slow and even ripening, and good flavour development in the fruit. Harvest commenced prior to a significant amount of overdue rainfall at the tail end of the growing season. One of the great growing seasons, combining well balanced fruit with exceptional varietal flavour development.
Soil Type Prime central Wairau, Renwick and Brancott soils. Shallow, silt loams over deep layers of free-draining stones. Moderate fertility low vigour soils.
Clonal / Rootstock Selection Chardonnay clones were selected to provide smaller berries and more flavour intensity – predominantly Dijon B95, UCD 15, UCD 6, 548 and Mendoza. Medium to low vigour rootstocks were matched for suitability to clone and soil.
Oak Selection Oak was selected from predominantly the Allier region in France. The tight grains of this wood are less tannic, more aromatic and provide layers of texture and complexity to the wine. These were seasoned for a minimum two year period and medium toasted, ensuring no harsh tannins and heightened aromatic potential. The barriques were supplied by renowned coopers Dargaud & Jaegle, François Frères, Chassin and Treuil.
Winemaking Techniques The fruit was destemmed and lightly pressed with the free run and pressed juice cold settled to partial clarity, racked into stainless steel fermentation tanks and inoculated with a pure yeast culture. 50% of the ferment was transferred to French oak barriques and allowed a slow temperature controlled fermentation at 14–16˚C (57–60˚F) for several weeks. The barrique fermented wine was lees stirred on a weekly basis and matured for 6 months to achieve maximum softness and retention of varietal flavours. The tank fermented portion was held on yeast lees stirred, racked and prepared for final blending. No malolactic fermentation was undertaken, the resulting wine was then blended and filtered prior to bottling.