2014 Charteris Central Otago Pinot Noir
After 2 seasons of pruning the Winter Vineyard I have a pretty good idea of where every boulder and rabbit burrow is across the block, not to mention how different parts of the vineyard grow. This is a tiny block of land that is planted over 3 distinct parts, the Loams (0.24 Hectares of 777 Clone) at the top of the block, the Terraces (0.15 Hectares of 115 Clone) with seperate the upper and lower blocks and the Gravels (0.6 Hectares of 115 and Abel Clones) which run down to the Kauwarau River. There is an altitude change of about 25 metres between the top and bottom block and the soils vary dramatically, as the names suggest across the blocks. With the healthy growing season and a good crop we have not needed to go outside this vineyard for additional fruit and as a result I have effectively ended up with the Winter Vineyard Cuvee and it's brother, same DNA, different child if you like. The exciting side of this is the opportunity to take different parts of the vineyard with a different clonal make up and treat them differently in the winery. The result, another layer of understanding in the rich tapestry we know as Pinot Noir.
Our 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir has an abundance of rich cherries, berries and fragrance. Some lovely cinnamon spice and subtle earthy notes to follow. Breezy and transparent with subtle aromatics, spice bun characters and a touch of dusty mineral characters lifting the fruit. The primary suit gives way to ripe raspberry and dark chocolate, with more subtle spice. Medium bodied with lively acid and cherry carrying to the finish. Perfumed and light on its feet on entry, more structure and grip on the middle to finish. Bright acidity and zippiness, body and balance.
Off the back of what some people in New Zealand are describing as the greatest vintage ever in 2013, with record high temperatures and no rain to speak of, there has been an air of expectation for the 2014 harvest. Primarily one of will it be anywhere near as good! The wise heads of grape growing will tell you that with a few exceptions there are no great vintages and that each vintage is just different from those before. Well, 2013 and 2014 are case in point.
A relatively warm 2013 winter with good raining June/July ensure moderately comfortable pruning conditions. The frosts of mid winter were not as severe and the cloud inversion that can sit over the vineyards of Bannockburn had greatly lifted by midday instead of the usual 3pm. I even found myself in a t-shirt for a few hours in the early afternoon. The mild winter and good soil moisture set up and early bud burst and a great start to the growing season with the only hiccup being a few nervous nights where the mercury dropped below zero in late October. Calm and dry conditions prevailed through November and December with a timely 30mm of rain in early January relieving any stress in the vineyard. From that time on apart from a cold 24 hours around the 18th January and a heat spike in early February things remained dry and mild. Sugars accumulated slowly with good acid retention and plenty of flavour in the fruit. After the richness from the 2013 vintage, 2014 has delivered finer structure and finesse with natural balance. I think this vintage will show good longevity only time in the cellar will tell.
* Hand picked on 9th & 18th April at or close to 24 Brix
* 100% Winter Vineyard, Bannockburn
* 45% 115, 30% 777, 25% Abel
* 15% whole bunch inclusion with the balance whole berry
* Bugger all new oak, maybe 10%
* 14.0% Alcohol
* Total Production 460 dozen