We had the local Rainbow Hot Air balloon sail past us this morning. Beautiful sight but a bit spooky as we have never seen a balloon cruise past us before. It was last seen heading rapidly down the Gibbston Valley hope it all ended well! Note the fresh snow dump in the background yeehahh - finally some of the white stuff arrives after an unusually mild winter.
Those of you who have ventured down the road to our Winery and Tasting room will be aware that it is not a road to trifle with. We had a van loaded with foreigners the other day, who, at high speed, failed to negotiate the bluff corner, lost control in the gravel, hit the bank and rolled. Nobody was badly hurt but the consequences of a loss of control in the other direction doesnt bear thinking about an almost sheer 100 metre drop into the Kawarau River. We noticed a few pinch marks in the middle of the drivers seat though!
Winter sees us trying to stay warm, its just 8°- 9°C in the cellar and any water on the concrete pad outside turns instantly to ice! It is also a good time to look back at the harvest that has just finished.
We started the harvest this year in the first week of April, as we normally do in the Tiger vineyard picking one of the blocks that will eventually go into the Tiger Single Vineyard Pinot Noir. That was followed closely by the Judge & Jury Chardonnay and the Viper Vineyard Riesling. The main part of the harvest from the Lowburn and Parkburn vineyards was quite condensed this year with everything coming in at the same time, instead of the more orderly sequential ripening pattern we are used to. That put a bit of pressure on tank space and the picking crew. The harvest wound up at the home vineyard in the second week of May.
So what was the quality of the vintage like? Well the fruit coming into the winery was certainly in the best condition that we have seen since 2010. The ripeness was good and all the vineyards performed well, producing their defined signature flavours despite the condensed harvest time. As we come out the other side of winter we will have a clearer picture of the quality of the wines and just how much depth they have, but right now we are very happy with what we have in the can. With all the 2013 wines safely tucked away and maturing nicely we will soon turn our attention to the 2012 Pinot Noir. We took the 2012 Pinot Noir out of barrel over February and March and its been resting in tank over the harvest period. We find that if we leave the wine in tank for a few months it comes together nicely before it goes into bottle, and it has time to settle and clarify without us having to add stuff to it. The 2012 Pinot Noir is looking fantastic, and will rival, or possibly be better than 2010! More on that in the next newsletter as we start to release the first of the vintage.