Am I just getting older, or are the winters getting bleaker? We’ve been plagued with black frosts, bitter days, and days of rain. My toes are covered in chilblains. Ki remains in her kennel, reluctantly following me around the vines. Kete sleeps all day in her bed, the chooks’ pen is a mudbath, and I won’t buy more weaner pigs until spring.
But just when I thought I’d never welcome the wind back again, last week the nor-westerly arrived and with it came warmer weather. It’s too windy for clothes on the line, but joy of joys, I don’t have to wear about six layers of clothes and there was a rainbow out the front.
On Monday we went up to Matahiwi to see Jane Cooper, and try out 2010 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and 2009 Pinot Noir. The latter is just delicious. Truly James Pinot Noir with that barnyard, complex, full of berries and licorice, leathery almost chocolate flavour and it’s still got a long way to go until we release it of course – 2011 at least.
The 2010 we tasted as separate clones, unblended, which is always an interesting exercise. Sometimes I feel like just smelling the wine, not tasting it, because once I’ve had the wine in my mouth I never get that power of the nose fully back again, and as Colin says, I have such a “sensitive little nose”. One of our clones, the 667, is very tannin strong, but Jane says if left it softens out.
But the most exciting development is our Pinot Gris which just gets better every year. Nice and dry, but still with good fruit – pineappley – Jane’s going to leave it on the lees for a bit longer and this will develop into a lovely Pinot Gris. We are very pleased.
When we got home, we did a bit more of our own winemaking, pumping the Viognier 2010 out of the barrel into the stainless steel tank, adding a sulphur tablet.
It will sit on the lees for a while too, and like the Pinot Gris, it’s shaping up to be much better than the previous two vintages. Drier, but still with that good fruit. We’re aiming to make our Viognier in the Condrieu style. Who says there’s a law against aiming high?