With vintage now complete, it is a good time to reflect back on the 2016/17 season and take a look at how the new vintage wines are shaping up...
We experienced a mild-to-cool spring period, which ensured that the vines naturally produced lighter than average yields. These mild temperatures then extended into the summer months, coupled with an unseasonal period of rain, which ultimately alleviated the drought conditions we had experienced over the past two years. Carrying lighter than usual crops along with the cooler weather meant vintage started only a week later than previous years with Pinot Noir for Rosé kicking things off on the 28th of March.
The majority of the Pinot Noir was picked in the first weeks of April, with great concentration, flavour and colour coming through, especially from the Seaview Vineyard and our sites in the upper Awatere Valley. We commenced picking Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and the other aromatics in early April, with all indications pointing towards a smooth, yet extended vintage period. The top part of New Zealand was then affected by not one, but two, consecutive tropical cyclones, the tails of which were forecast to have an impact in Marlborough.
What was looking like a long and easy vintage, turned into a short and fast harvesting window, where our team really stood up to the challenges. Due to our existing infrastructure, innovation, advanced technologies, and most importantly our people, we were able to jump into action and safely guide the fruit into the winery with minimal impact from the cyclones.We now have a winery full of young, vibrant, fresh and expressive wines. Again, it appears to be a great year for the Awatere Valley, with natural balance and mineral acidity the highlights. We have some exciting aromatic varieties (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Pinot Gris) tucked away in concrete eggs, 1000L French oak ovals, and a selection of older barriques, which we will continue to work on over the coming months, building in texture and weight.
Now begins the grading and blending process, starting with the Sauvignon Blancs, and we are excited about the opportunity of bringing these new wines to market.
Cheers, Jeff Fyfe