MIDDLE-EARTH Chardonnay 2018
REGIONAL CLIMATE: Nelson’s sheltered topography gives protection from strong winds; combined with its proximity to the sea this gives milder
temperatures than other South Island regions, mitigating frost risk. Regularly New Zealand’s sunniest region and with good diurnal variation this helps emphasise varietal character. High sunlight hours and a long growing season give wonderful fruit purity.
VINTAGE: Across New Zealand and indeed in Nelson 2018 was one of those years that as a winemaker you were grateful be older, experienced and surrounded by an equally experienced and energetic crew... Mother Nature threw an absolute medley of weather at us! Summer arrived early with hot ripening conditions and unusually warm nights. This transpired to be very fortuitous as we were able to pull ripe parcels of fruit into the winery earlier than normal, working quickly and determinedly to dodge a series of cyclones that hit New Zealand. Our stony alluvial (very free draining) soils serving us very well in the case of the few remaining vineyards that did have to weather a storm.
WINEMAKING: Predominately Mendoza the fruit for this Chardonnay was harvested early morning of the 19th March 2018. The juice was allowed to settle overnight and the next morning the lightly clarified juice was racked off the heaviest of juice solids to a stainless-steel ferment tank. Here it was inoculated with a Chardonnay yeast isolated in Burgundy and chosen for its ability to “reveal the typicity of the grands terroirs of Chardonnay: fresh almond and hazelnut, toasted bread and citrus fruits”. A cool but steady ferment was managed in tank. Once the wine was nearing dryness approximately half the volume was transferred with only fine yeast lees to Tonneleir Rousseau Hogs Heads, the other half to a small tank where it remained unoaked but was gentled stirred on lees once a month. Likewise, the Hogs Heads were stirred once a month until the month of December when we began to ready ourselves for January’s bottling. The tank and oaked components were blended a week prior to Christmas and the wine stabilized, it was gently filtered to achieve its beautiful star bright appearance and slipped into bottle on the 8th January 2019.
TASTING NOTE: It is star bright and pale straw in colour. Varietal fruit characters can still be seen in the wine, whilst secondary (ferment and time in oak) characters are subtle on the nose and palate. Medium bodied with a juicy acidity the wine has a finesse that lends it to fly solo as an aperitif, or to suit contemporary bean or nut-based dishes. Alternatively, it would pair beautifully with seafood, cold meats and salad.