2012 Charteris The Astral Vineyard Chardonnay
There is something special about people who grow grapes and make wine, it’s a sort of unofficial interconnectedness. You meet a friend of a friend and without so much as a blink of the eye you are in the fold. So it is that I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to test my winemaking with some of the fine Chardonnay fruit from the Carrick Vineyard in Bannockburn.
I met Steve and Barbara Green, the owners of Carrick, many years ago when Central Otago was in its vinous infancy. In 2011 when they heard I was on the hunt for a small parcel of high quality Chardonnay fruit they didn’t hesitate. I have to say that it is not easy to come across organically grown, Mendoza clone Chardonnay anyway in NZ let alone from the prized terrior of Bannockburn. Not only did they offer me a couple of tonnes of fruit but also Barbara’s maiden name as a Single Vineyard designation.
The “Astral” Vineyard Chardonnay is born and with great fruit like this all I have to do is not stuff it up.
As with any parcel of grapes you are new to, there are challenges, and the 2012 Astral was no exception. Think feral hippee meets urban funkster, wild meets cool, Frank Zappa meets Miles David, and here is the result……
A confluence of fruit and complexity adorn the nose. Grapefruit, custard apple and citrus blossom give way to flint, cordite and wet slate. White floral characters of jasmine and gardenia are entwined with honeycomb, almond milk and lemon curds.
The entry to the mouth is full of lemons, limes and green apple wrapped with bracing acidity. The acid is defined yet supple, giving the wine a lightness. Airy and delicate with length and persistence. It is crystalline with layers of fruit and mineral on the finish. Tight, focused, chiseled, at the same time slightly untamed.
3 to 5 years but drinking well now
- Hand picked on 5th April 2012 at 21.8 Brix
- Oranically farmed Mendoza clone
- Whole Bunch pressed
- 24 hours settling before racking to 3 old French barriques and 1 new French puncheon
- Wild ferment, 100 % Malolactic fermention
- Kept on lees for 14 months with no Sulphur Dioxide
- SO2 added just before bottling
- 236 6 packs bottled