Vintage 2019 wrap up

As the 2019 vintage comes to a close and we press off the final wine, a Tempranillo from Kekarengu none the less, we look back and reflect on a harvest which brought in some of the finest fruit we have seen from Marlborough in a decade.

The 2018/2019 summer in Marlborough was one of the hottest and driest on record. This was preceded by poor flowering and lower yields, which along with drought conditions was a recipe for fast ripening and an earlier than usual harvest.

The sunrise one harvest morning over the Coterie barrel hall.

The sunrise one harvest morning over the Coterie barrel hall.

The Coterie brought in a range of fruit including the aforementioned Tempranillo, along with Semillon from a vineyard aptly named ‘The Brink’ as it was cultivated back to flourish, some of the best Syrah one client had seen in years, Gewurztraminer – which remains to be one of the few parcels actually picked in Marlborough this year; along with the party favourites; Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir , Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay.

We are particularly excited about one of our clients first attempt to make a blanc de blanc sparkling base from Chardonnay, a long cry from being finished, but we are at the ready to triage, riddle, disgorge and of course sample the result along the way.

One of our international clients, currently based in France, spent a lot of time in the winery making a very special Sauvignon Blanc. With 50% of the fruit having been plunged and given extended skin contact for 7 days, it was treated more similarly to a Pinot Noir, before draining and pressing off to barrel.

The smallest parcel of fruit we received was a 130kg bin of handpicked, organic Syrah for Scout Wines. Following fermentation, this was pressed in a small basket press and is now tucked away in a demijohn and keg, all 82 litres of it.

Emerald Wines, a brand in its maiden vintage, brought in the smallest parcel of Sauvignon Blanc, possibly even the smallest in Marlborough! 500kg of handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and settled, before being barreled down and tucked away for the winter.

Three clients shared some Pinot Gris fruit, all hailing from the same two picks and vineyard, each treating their portion very differently. One allowed 30 days skin contact, the other two played around with an extended maceration time before pressing and there was a portion put to barrel. It will be interesting to see all three of these finished wines lined up together, perhaps proving that yet good wines are grown in the vineyard, the winemakers hand is key to great wines.

We are all looking forward to watching the wines evolve over the coming months, with the first 2019 going to bottle in June. We sit in anticipation for the reviews and recognition they will rightly so deserve.