Spring has sprung, the new growth is rapidly accelerating towards the sun, reaching up with youthful vigour. The tightly knurled bunches are visible, hard little green balls of promise within. Soon, the little flowers will open, the cap will hopefully fly off under a good warm Nor’wester, and the stamen will spring forth and dust their pollen back onto the awaiting loins within. Yes, these are hermaphrodite flowers, self pollinating miracles. No bees are required for grapes to flower and set, just warm dry conditions so the cap that constrains the stamen detaches freely.
Back at the winery, other miracles are occurring. The yeast that have performed their intoxicating magic of converting sugar to ethanol (God bless them Little Creatures) are now slowly relaxing, gently withering, and releasing the complex nutrients and organic wonders of the cell wall. These very un-sexily named organic goodies are the difference between the ordinary and the sublime. They bring texture, weight, complexity, and a distinct aroma of freshly baked bread (or Brioche to be specific!). Hence “lees” (yeast) aged Chardonnays are richer, more soft and rounded, and reminiscent of Sunday morning at the bakery. Yum!!
This enriching natural process is happening from now until autumn in my barrels and concrete eggs. Just before next harvest, we will “rack” the wines off the yeast lees, and clarify in preparation for bottling. But already now I can assess each wines character and personality, and can get genuinely excited about the wines that will soon become bottled wine. And I am more than a little excited, these wines are looking spectacular!!
In the meantime, the 2014 Fat n Sassy release has been fantastic! Two 5 Star reviews straight off the bat from Raymond Chan and Sam Kim – wow! This release is richer and fatter than the 2013, as this is what you my customers asked for. Its truly beautiful, and extraordinary value.
The new baby is the Gisborne 2015 Summertime Chardonnay from the legendary Judd Estate vineyard in Patutahi. These boys have forgotten more than most growers know about growing great Chardonnay. Its a soft tropical fruity wine with lovely smoky oak complexity. Totally more-ish. Perfect for summer beach barbeques and long lazy lunches. A smile, a kiss, a sip of wine, it’s Summertime!
Skeetfield Old Vine Dry Farmed Mendoza Chardonnay vines. This amazing vineyard provides the grapes for my super premium barrel fermented Chardonnay. First release about August next year. Thanks to my mate and grower, Denis Gunn.