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Fancrest Estate
Pinot Noir
2008

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.

Fancrest Estate
Pinot Noir
2009

Grown in conversion to organics (BioGro #5124) on our own Estate. 6 year old vines.  

2009 was a dream season... a one in thirty year vintage according to some. A wet winter was followed by a glorious spring that was punctuated by a couple of frosts that left us untouched. Summer started hot, resulting in near perfect flowering. A violent hailstorm on 4 January clipped the vineyard, damaging some exposed hard green berries and shredding leaves. These berries dried up and fell, removing pressure from within already crowded bunches setting us up for a perfect harvest. Conditions cooled towards the end of summer slowing ripening and allowing us to harvest beautifully ripe fruit at reasonable sugar levels.

Our largest crop to date, we harvested 6 tonnes. Once again, on the hard thin limestone soils we took only a minuscule crop. Hand harvesting began on 6 April, and ended on 11 April, unusually compact time-wise, and a reflection of the evenness of the season. 100% destemmed without crushing into open top fermenters. 

Natural fermentation was helped along only by gentle hand plunging. We basket pressed after about 34 days on the skins. Maturation took place in a selection of quality tight grained French oak barriques (mainly Allier and Tronçaise), about 60% new, for 6 months. 

A fire at the winery in which the barrels were stored, destroyed the winery and much of the wine stored there. 2000L of our own wine survived, untainted by smoke... later confirmed by laboratory testing. Maturation continued in small CP (Controlled Permeability) tanks. This is a powerful wine with an amazing but true story of survival! 

Fined with organic egg whites and organic milk. Light filtration. Contains sulphites. Bottled under screw-cap in light weight glass.

Took its time to reveal its full potential.  Vibrant juicy red and black fruit, with finely balanced acidity and subtle oak. Mineral. Silky but powerful tannins. Bright acidity suggests this wine will accompany fatty tuna, turkey and pork dishes exceptionlly well.  With time took on a complex savoury character. We do not stabilise tartrates so a heavy tannin-tartrate crystal sediment developed in the bottle allowing the wine to soften naturally.