Winemakers of our currently available vintages are Jen Parr (up to the 2011 vintage) and Sarah-Kate Dineen (from 2012 vintage). They produce(d) our wine under contract and in close consultation with Crawford.
For the technophiles, here is a description of a typical year’s Pinot noir vintage at the winery.
The fruit is generally harvested in early to mid April.
We typically pick at 24-25 °Brix and, due to our spectacular ‘terroir’, the grapes are sugar-ready at the same time as they are physiologically-ready. This gives us the wonderful silky velvety mouth-feel so sought after in a premium quality Pinot noir wine. Of course, flavour is maximised as well, and the ability to hang our fruit out longer means that skin tannins, and even stalk and pip tannins, are ripe and brown instead of green. In premium years, we also ‘whole bunch’ ferment a portion of our fruit in order to extract extra grape tannins from the stalks.
Must pH ranges from 3.20 -3.30 with titratable acidity of 7.6 – 8.5g/L typical.
For the first 5 days or so the musts are kept cool at 12-13°C. Fermentation is encouraged by warming to 17°C and inoculating with cultured yeast. Prior to inoculation the musts are punched down daily and during fermentation they are punched down 3-4 times daily. Fermentation temperatures are kept at a maximum of 31°C. Fermentation typically takes 7-9 days.
Most of the ferments are pressed off at around 25 days. The wine is pressed extremely gently in an air bag press at no more than 1.2 bar. The free run wine and pressings are combined and settled overnight before being racked to barrel. Barrels from a number of French coopers are utilised with an overall new oak ratio of around 30%. The wine undergoes malo-lactic fermentation during spring.
In January or February, the barrels are tasted by the winemaker and Crawford with a view to selecting the ‘best of the best’ barrels for the Barrel Selection Pinot noir with the balance being designated as Goldfields Pinot noir.
In February, the wine is racked out of the barrels, blended and then bottled. We strive to minimize intervention during the winemaking process, and indeed, for recent vintages our ‘Barrel Selection’ has been so spectacular that it has not been fined nor filtered before bottling – very unusual for a NZ wine.
Post bottling, typical data are:
AlcoholL 13.5 – 14%
Titratable Acidity: 6.3g/L
Residual sugar: Nil