2013 will go down in history as one of the best vintages we have seen in the Gisborne region this century. If you look back over the seasons, the odd vintages always seem to be a bit of a struggle, so this was definitely one year out of the box.
Looking back over the entire growing season, the Gisborne region experienced some cool weather in Spring. This resulted in some frost damage to parts of the region. One of our grower blocks where we source out popular Matawhero Chardonnay, the Tietjen vineyard, was damaged. More cool weather at flowering also limited the crop levels, resulting in small berries and bunches giving extremely intense flavours and colour. The summer in Gisborne was glorious, except if you are a farmer! With long sunshine hours coupled with lack of disease and rainfall, the harvest progressed in a very orderly fashion. For the first time in many season we harvested the grapes exactly when we wanted to, a very nice feeling!
At the time of writing this vintage summary the Chardonnays are in malolactic fermentation. They have an intensity of fruit not seen for 20 years and carry great weight and length early in their lives. Our Pinot Gris, made from the new ENTAV INRA clone 457 once again looks stunning with intense fruit flavours and lovely texture and that nice hint of spice. The new varieties that we used for our Church House series of wine have also performed extremely well. One of the new kids on the block – The Albarino is extremely aromatic and has retained its acidity and looks a good fit for Gisborne viticulturally. The second crop of Gruner Veltliner is more intense than last year, with excellent stonefruit characters and good palate weight. We are looking forward to seeing this at Christmas once is has been bottled and ready for those long Summer lunches. It is our first year of the new Matawhero Chenin Blanc (The Irwin’s use to make this wine in their hay day).The wine has finished fermentation and remains on lees to gain complexity. It is a rich and full style in the tradition of the old Matawhero. We are also excited to have the famous Matawhero Gewürztraminer back again this year after we did not make one in 2012 as the quality was not up to our high standards.
The reds, due to the intense heat over the ripening period (Gisborne had two days of summer over 35 degrees this year) are almost black in colour. The Pinot noir is big and grunty with a colour usually associated with Central Otago wines. The Merlot is a deeply coloured, brooding wine with length and vitality. This will be the best Merlot we have produced in years! Malbec, a blending variety for many, is good enough this year to make a stand alone wine. At present it is looking very Argentinian in style so this will be one to watch out for once it is released. All the reds are a little clumsy as they go through malolactic fermentation, but the potential is huge.
To top it all off, we have produced a stunning Pinot Rose and Gisborne Sauvignon Blanc for the range to enjoy over those Summer months.