2016 Charteris The Hunt Vineyard Riesling
While the earth mother, Papatuanuku and the sky father, Ranginui work as hard as they can to influence the wines we enjoy, the final expression of what we see in the glass is nothing without human interference. A particular harvest is often marked in a winemaker’s memory by happenstance as much as it is by the vintage conditions. Opinion altering wines shared over a harvest lunch, visits from out of season winemaking peers or late night over consumption and conversation can have butterfly effect like changes on the final outcome of harvest. After the picking decision, the moment I arrest the fermentation is the most critical stage in the development of this wine. So, it was kind of serendipitous to have an old mate Tim Wardell with me to make the call. Tim is an Omarama boy, grew up a shepherd on a high-country sheep station. I’m not sure what possessed him to turn to winemaking, but it meant we crossed paths studying all thing vinous at Roseworthy in South Australia. We played Rugby and drank a bit of stout together (he is a tough bugger) but it was under the guidance of the Clare Valley legend Tim Kappstein in the early 90’s that we learnt about Riesling. With that sort of human terrior on hand it only seemed appropriate to interfere with the course of nature. Our earliest harvest of this wine to date and while I see no shortcomings, the ever earlier picking dates across all varieties and vineyards are both a blessing and a concern. For every agriculturalist the climate changes are clearly evident and we are all dealing with the uncertainty of different climatic circumstances year on year. That said we are happily somewhere between the limes of a Mojito and the Green Apple/Gin infusion of the Big Bearded Wang*. *Big Bearded Wang – MGC Gin, Apples, Cloudy Apple Juice, Umeshu. Conceived and concocted by the team at Double Happiness, Melbourne
Tasting Notes:Subtle floral perfume, more citrus blossom, and the almost tactile smell of windblown Greywacke silt. The faintest lift of crushed Kaffir Lime leaf gives a sense of aromatic infinity. Lime, limes and more limes flood the entry of this wine. Then there’s the build of weight and resonance, acidity playing with phenolics playing with extract. Pithy and crunchy acidity with a silky glide of texture drive juicy length and persistence. While quite thirst quenching, be careful because I think the moreish-ness of this wine can only lead to a second bottle. The wine requires not so much as a food match but a food experience. Get in Boat, Find Kingfish, Catch Kingfish, Celebrate with glass of Riesling, prepare Kingfish Sashimi and Ceviche, Drink more Riesling, Enjoy.
Winter 2015 took a while to arrive but when it did there was plenty of precipitation and white stuff on the ground. At about 9am on the 18th June while blending our 2014 Pinots I found myself reaching for an extra layer of clothing while inside with the fire blazing. On further inspection out the window the 10cm of snow on the ground was perhaps the reason. Good soil moisture and a warm, windy spring made for an early budburst with good growth. Warm days and cool nights from November 15 through to January 16 ensured growth stayed in check with dry weather throughout. February settled in to classic warm and calm conditions setting up day after day of glassy waterskiing conditions on Lake Dunstan. The cold nights returned in March and combined with warm days harvest was earlier that the previous few. There was a brief interlude of stormy weather in March around Queenstown with the arrival of Pete Cullen from the Bonnells Bay Hotel on the NSW Central Coast with some of his golfing friends. Plenty of hot air seemed to create a fair bit of wind resulting in foggy conditions the following morning. Things cleared however with the departure of Qantas flight 122 and conditions returned to normal. Overall a dry and warm season with a significantly warmer than usual February, Growing Degree Days were up 20%. While bunch numbers and berry weights were down, Bunch weight were up due to high berry numbers that normal. That translates to lots of small berries which is good for flavour. The 2016 Hunt Vineyard Riesling was picked on the 7th April, at 21.0 Brix, pH of 2.90 and Titratible Acidity of 10.5 g/L Cellaring 4 to 8 years maybe longer but why wait.
Technical info:• Hand-picked on 7th April at 21.0 Brix • Whole Bunch pressed • Settled for 6 days before racking • Inoculated with a neutral Saccharomyces bayanus yeast strain • Fermentation was stopped to leave a small amount of acid balancing residual sugar • Minimal Protein stabilisation • The wine remained on fine yeast lees until bottling on 10th of August 2016 • GM110 and GM198-19 clones • Pre-bottling analysis – 2.93 pH, 9.3 g/L Titratible Acidity, 10.0 g/L Residual Sugar, 11.5 % Alcohol