Grown following organic principles on our own Estate. Second crop off 5 year old vines.
We escaped harm from the spring frost on 19 October 2007 that devastated many Canterbury and Waipara Valley vineyards. Rain in mid-December caused flowering to become a long drawn-out affair but left the bunch clusters open and with beautiful small berries that concentrated the flavour. The extreme summer drought that followed, made conditions challenging, especially for the youngest vines on the thinnest limestone soils. Drought-breaking rains fell towards the end of February and early March. In the run-up to harvest, the weather cleared but remained cool and overcast.
Hand-harvesting began on 12-13 April (8 days later than in 2007), reflecting the cool Autumn conditions. Interrupted flowering resulted in slightly uneven ripening, and it took both the art, and the science, of the winemaker to pick the moment of "optimal" skin and seed ripeness. Brix at harvest was around 23.2.
100% destemmed and fermented with wild yeast. 20 days of skin contact with very gentle hand plunging and cap washing extracted only the finest grained tannins. Matured in a selection of quality medium- and tight-grained French oak barriques (mainly Allier and Tronçaise and our very special and expensive Dom Laurent Magic Casks), about 30% new, for 11 months. Fined with organic egg whites. Bottled under screw-cap. Released 2010.
Overall, 2008 delivered a very small vintage but a particularly fine example from what could be considered a cool year in Waipara. The vineyard has expressed the prevailing conditions by producing a lighter, more elegant style than in 2007. Consumers of great Pinot Noirs from Burgundy will tell you that colour hue and density is not a reliable indicator of Pinot Noir quality. This is a wine that is more up front, with enticing aromas of red berries, dark cherries, over subtle layers of earth and spice making for a delightfully complex wine, that opens up in the glass to reveal gorgeous floral notes (rose petal and violets), that are quite typical of our Estate's wines. Despite its apparent lightness, the 2008 has lovely concentration. A moderately long finish, and moderate alcohol and integrated oak are in perfect balance. Fine-grained silky tannins and good acidity ensure it will age gracefully.