$28 per bottle
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 winter of 2014 was reasonably wet replenishing the water table which was necessary after several dry seasons. Good weather over flowering lead to ideal crop levels. The summer of 2015 was magnificent; one of those summers that you always remember as a child, being warm and lasting forever. It was the perfect season for growing grapes that could then be made into the classic Tongue in Groove (TnG) style of Riesling. The warm weather produced well ripened grapes with little botrytis but the long hang time and warmth resulted in an intensely aromatic wine that is rich and full and in the true TnG style.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from two vineyards; Bedford and Longsmith which are both 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. Longsmith Vineyard is also located on Georges Rd and renowned for their intensely aromatic Riesling grapes.
The grapes were hand picked, foot-stomped and left to soak overnight then pressed very gently, separating the hard pressings. This skin contact process has given intensity of aroma, a rich full bodied wine with excellent mouthfeel. 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 racked (siphon clear juice off the lees) into a clean stainless tank for fermentation. The juice was allowed to ferment by the action of the natural yeast at cooler temperatures; 17-18 degrees maximum. The fermentation followed a classic, healthy fermentation curve producing an almost dry Riesling. Soon after the wine had finished its fermentation the wine was filtered for bottling, without extended lees contact as this can distract from the purity of fruit flavour.
A gorgeous bouquet of orange blossom, the essence of mandarin juice spraying as the skin is removed, grapefruit and warm stone fruit abound on the nose. The palate is rich and full with excellent weight and power; very indicative of these two vineyards and the growing season. The acid is perfectly balanced giving freshness, balance and length to the wine. All of this has resulted in a style that follows the new wave of drier, rich, fuller bodied Rieslings that are incredibly drinkable. One glass immediately leads to another and soon one is left wishing for another bottle. The structure and concentration of this wine will allow 10 plus years of bottle age.