The Waipara Valley is the spiritual home of Riesling in New Zealand. It’s not surprising then that it’s attracted some of the most eccentric, passionate, obsessed Riesling freaks on the planet. We fill our cellars and glasses with the avant-garde of the old world including Heymann Lowenstein, Clemens Busch, FX Pichler and Franz Hertzberger.
We’re not interested in necessarily fitting neatly inside your ‘Riesling box’, and we don’t understand the new world obsession with dryness at any cost. Instead we’re on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of balance, texture and the expression of the vineyard.
The spring of 2013 was frost free giving a good start to the growing season. Good weather over owering lead to ideal crop levels. Moderate weather patterns persisted for the rest of the season; not too hot or cold, giving a long hang time enhancing aroma and avour development in the Riesling grapes. There was higher than average rainfall in April which lead to the development of botrytis, however very careful vineyard selection meant that the resulting wine has beautiful complexity and texture as a result of this botrytis.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Bedford Vineyard which is situated on the north facing, free draining gravel terraces associated with the Waipara riverbed, which was once a glacier. These north facing terraces with their free draining soils produce some of the best Riesling grapes in Waipara, if not New Zealand. The Bedford Vineyard was established around 12 years ago where the owners are so passionate about Riesling, that it is the only variety they grow. Given the choice of any vineyard in Waipara in which to grow Riesling grapes for Tongue in Groove, this vineyard would be our first choice.
The grapes were put directly into the press and pressed very gently, separating the hard pressings. The mirky juice was pumped into a tank to allow settling. The juice was allowed to sit on the juice lees for about 5-6 days (a mild form of skin contact) helping intensify the aromas of mandarin spray inherent to the Waipara Valley and increasing phenolic levels which gives length to the wine. The juice was then racked (siphon clear juice o the lees) into a clean stainless tank for fermentation. The juice was allowed to ferment by the action of the natural yeast and a cool fermentation; 17-18 degrees maximum proceeded. The fermentation was moni- tored daily, checking the decreasing sugar level and temperature. The fermenta- tion followed a classic, healthy fermentation curve and slowly petered out leaving very low levels of natural residual sugar, giving balance to the fresh acid and rich phenolics. Soon after the wine had nished its fermentation the wine was ltered for bottling, without extended lees contact as this can distracts from the purity of fruit avours.
Spicy aromas of black and white pepper abound with a heady perfume of orange blossom, mandarin skin essence, grapefruit and melon with hints of apricot ker- nels. The palate is rich and full yet with an elegance and purity at the same time; this is portrayed by the ripe avours of passionfruit, orange and honey which is complimented by white pepper and lime zest. The palate is rich and long yet per- fectly balanced by the acid leaving ones mouth cleansed and refreshed, making another glass irresistible.