2015 Charteris The Hunt Vineyard Riesling
Newton’s Third Law…..of Riesling
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Maybe this is why the Star Wars Saga will go on in infinitum. True Balance can only be achieved in the Galaxy when Equilibrium exists between the Light and the Dark sides of the Force. Harmony and Balance are the ultimate forces of nature and what better forum for them to play out than in the vineyard and in the wines that result.
The great Juxtaposition of viticulture is yield and quality, of winemaking, it is hands on versus hands off. So, therefore, Riesling may just be the perfect conduit to prove Newton’s Third Law. If you double the crop, you will halve the quality (I suspect that Pinot Noir may well fall into the same camp), the more you mess with the winemaking the less it starts to look like Riesling.
The Pressure valves for us in 2015 were the cool ripening conditions in the lead up to harvest and a change in vineyard management. Blair and Estelle Hunt, who planted and nurtured these vines for the previous 18 years were ready to retire and sold the vineyard in early 2015. There was a nervous wait and I’m sure some bigger celestial forces were at work because the whole vineyard seemed to change overnight. Fortunately, under the new Stewardship of Gary Crabbe the vines have once again found their Balance. Order is restored.
With the earlier than usual harvest date we seem to have unlocked a new suite of aromatics and flavours. The Granny-Smith Apple and Lime characters that mark this vineyard are still there with the overlay of Mineral Salts and Lavender. But we have moved into another aromatic space with almost Gardenia and citrus floral notes adding aromatic abundance. There are ever so subtle hints of Sherbet and lime jelly crystals.
The palate opens with volume and substance, generously polished with well-sculptured lines and edges. There is a fluidity and carry to the Phenolics with counter-balanced acidity and liveliness. Long and polished, heaps of Limey flavour gives persistence.
The sweetness is very subtext and balances with the acidity to create mouthwatering line and length.
Pure and perhaps quite New Worldy with polish and composure. Youthful.
While happy drinking this wine purely for its thirst quenching properties it would be equally comfortable around some richer flavours, think Asian Spiced Pork Belly.
What goes up, so they say, at some stage goes in a different direction and so the 2014/2015 growing season tested us with some interesting conditions. Winter was, in summary, substantially milder and wetter than average in Central Otago, which is not a bad thing when you are standing in the vineyard at pruning time. Somehow the rain stayed away for the pruning period but things were damp under foot. Budburst was a little late and the growing season groaned into gear slowly which was good because we were all watching the Rugby World Cup anyway. There were some November frost scares with Marlborough calling on an Apocalypse Now like swarm of Helicopters to push the cold air away. The Flowerday family, at Te Whare Ra, needs a special mention here because they had extra help from King Ritchie fresh off the boat from Twickenham piloting a copter in their hour of need. Is the no end to this mans talents.
Central Otago managed to escape the worst of the cold snap but it slowed the season somewhat. Fortunately December delivered the warmth required to get the vines going with good shoot growth and flowering proceeded well.
January had its usual hiccup of cold weather ensuring the icebreakers came out for a week then back to warm weather through February. March cooled off and there was a bit of unseasonal rain, which delayed our harvest and put pressure on those who had not focused on the finer details of viticulture.
Overall the best vineyards produced wines with lifted fruit aromatics and delicate, lacy structure to the phenolics. Juicy acid in Riesling and delicate, perfumed Pinots are the mark of this Harvest for us.
• Hand picked on 9th April at 21.3 Brix
• Whole Bunch pressed
• Settled for 4 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 4th of August 2014
• GM110 and GM198-19 clones
• Pre-bottling analysis – 2.81 pH, 8.25 g/L Titratible Acidity, 11.0 g/L Residual Sugar, 12.0 % Alcohol