2017 Charteris The Hunt Vineyard Riesling
This wine is a tribute to one of the quiet achievers of Central Otago grape growing and winemaking. Not so much a pioneer or innovator but a persistent and understated, ever dogged, grafter who had a clear vision. As the label suggests, the grapes for this wine come from the Hunt Vineyard, planted in 1997, tended and nurtured by Blair Hunt and his wife Estelle. The fact that they choose to plant the tiny 0.7 Hectare plot of Riesling at the base of a steep granite outcrop may have been because the soil was no good for Pinot Noir. But in doing so they created something absolutely unique. In all of my winemaking I have come across only a few patches of dirt that have such a consistent and distinct expression. The tone and volume of the site inevitably change year on year, but the music stays the same.
We lost Blair in the spring of 2016, just when these vines were in the middle of budburst. It was to be a low yielding vintage ahead, but in that, produced a wine of mesmerizing depth and intensity.
I miss the old bugger, his distinctive sense of humor conveniently hiding a sharp and wise demeaner. This is our last wine from this vineyard, and I think it is kind of fitting that we go out on a high note.
From a cooler vintage and with a return to the normal late April pick, the 22nd April harvest on a rather frigid morning.
There is detail and refinement in this wine, while still showing abundance, lots of lemon and lime sorbet aromatics with some florals. Lemon blossom, a hint of Rose petal and white nectarine with the faintest hint of spice, like cinnamon and vanilla bean, but delicate and adding a gentle perfume. There is heaps going on and at 3 years young it is still extremely fresh.
If we could find the right chef to turn Lemons and limes into a crystal form, this is where you would like to look for inspiration, there is an explosion of citrus followed by silky texture across the flavour profile. And it doesn’t stop, the flavour just keeps going and going all woven neatly together with seamless length. Someone get the oysters, quick!
2016 Winter was done and dusted quickly with a wet July followed by a dry August and the snowmakers earning every bit of their crust to keep the ski fields open. Spring started mild and dry before things really warmed up and the rain arrive to ensure strong vegetative growth. November proved quite settled and led into warm days and cool nights through December with the Growing Degree Days accumulating nicely. January brought some cool weather with some late rain and somewhere amongst this we ended up with very poor fruit set. A warm February with a dry and cool March had the small looking crop in good shape, then April let us know autumn was well and truly on the doorstep with frosts early on follow by rain mid-month then more frosts at the end. Perfect for ripening Riesling.
- Hand-picked on 22nd April at 22.0 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 10th of August 2017, exactly one year to the day from when the 16 Hunt Riesling was bottled
- GM110 and GM198-19 clones
- Pre-bottling analysis – 2.89 pH, 8.69 g/L Titratible Acidity,
- 10.66 g/L Residual Sugar
- 12.0 % Alcohol