THE SEASON. This was one of our cooler summers, which was ideal for cool climate varieties like Riesling. By leaving the grapes on the vines until later in the season we achieved excellent ripeness and flavour development with good natural acidity. A modest but reasonable crop level, combined with some noble botrytis, has contributed to good fruit concentration and body in the wine.
The season was influenced by La Nina weather conditions, resulting in a very mild spring, a warm summer with high sunshine hours and a long, lingering autumn. In spite of being dry we had infrequent, but well spaced showers keeping the vines very happy. At picking the fruit was in beautiful condition and was physiologically ripe.
The spring of 2009 was one of the warmest ever recorded so the vines got off to a good start with an early bud burst. Late spring and early summer however, were unseasonably cool and cloudy, sufficiently slowing the development of the grapes to cause us concern. The skies then cleared and we had three to four months of unbroken sunshine. This enabled us to leave the fruit on the vine to attain excellent maturity and ripeness.
An exceptionally early budburst was brought about by a very mild spring. Warm summer days with cool nights and a balmy, dry autumn produced healthy, beautifully ripened fruit while retaining a wonderful balance of natural acidity.
The spring and early summer were warm and so exceptionally dry that we felt the vines might suffer from the effects of drought. In February we had the unexpected; a torrential downpour set the dry streams gurgling merrily and totally replenished the ground water reserves. Late in autumn we had humid conditions which led to some botrytis developing in riesling. Many producers picked early to minimise the effect of this, but fortunately we braved it out until the weather cleared and the patches of botrytis became beautifully shrivelled and noble.
Waipara was buffeted by frequent strong winds in late spring and early summer which coincided with the period when the grapes were in flower. It impaired pollination and thus quite markedly reduced the crop level. The rest of the summer, however, was excellent and the autumn was warm, dry and lingering. We were thus able to harvest beautifully ripened, flavoursome riesling grapes which had retained good levels of natural acidity.
The growing season was excellent for riesling, with an early spring, a warm summer and a long, lingering autumn. The grapes came from three climatically different Canterbury sub regions and we timed the harvest with each to take advantage of their distinctive but complimentary flavours. The Waipara Valley component was picked first, followed by that from Burnham and lastly the fruit from Swannanoa.
2005 gave very low crops all over the South Island and therefore wines of exceptional concentration. This is a selection of riesling from Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury. Marlborough has given the backbone, Nelson a grapefruit complexity and Canterbury lemon, lime and spice.
This wine is a blend of riesling from the Waipara Valley and further on the Canterbury Plains. The growing season was quite different in these 2 regions and the resulting fruit characteristics have been complementary. Waipara experienced both hot and cool periods over the summer, which was followed by a long, warm, dry autumn. This resulted in stone fruit flavours, concentration and richness. It was quite a lot cooler on the Canterbury Plains, which has emphasised apple and citrus fruit characters and added freshness, crispness and elegance.