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Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018 £14.50
FRAMINGHAM MARLBOROUGH PINOT GRIS 2018
The Framingham label was launched in 1994 with one Riesling and has since expanded to include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Framingham produces wines from their 19.5-hectare estate vineyard (certified organic since 2014) and other selected sites. Their Riesling vines, planted in 1981, are among the oldest in Marlborough. Andrew Brown joined Framingham as head winemaker in January 2020, replacing Dr Andrew Hedley, who resigned from his role after 18 years at the helm. A highly regarded winemaker, Brown previously spent seven years at Framingham as assistant winemaker and understudy to Andrew Hedley before working as a consultant in regions including Oregon, Central Otago and Alsace. Last year, one of Brown's Rieslings won the Champion Riesling Trophy at the New Zealand International Wine Show; a fitting accolade from someone taking the reins at Framingham, who have always been renowned for their Rieslings.
Fruit for this wine was selected from the Wairau Valley from the Framingham estate vineyard and the King & Dry Hills estate vineyard which are Framingham managed. Soils are of the old river bed type; fist-sized stones composed of greywacke (a hard, dark type of sandstone streaked with quartz and feldspar) mixed alluvial gravel and silt.
Spring was wet and mild with no frost in any of the vineyards. Summer temperatures stepped up with December being the second warmest on record, while January saw the highest temperatures since records began. By February it was looking like an early harvest, with superb flowering conditions and a sizeable crop necessitating thinning in almost all vineyards. However, two ex-tropical cyclones brought considerable rainfall in February. Harvest started mid-March with grapes at a good level of physiological ripeness but needing careful hand-sorting to eliminate botrytis. Despite the rain, the fruit was able to hang on the vine to achieve very good ripeness levels.
The fruit was harvested by hand, and whole bunches were loaded into the press and gently crushed. 65% of the juice was fermented spontaneously in old barriques and acacia puncheons with the remainder fermented in stainless steel tanks. The components were then aged on full lees for seven months before blending.
This wine has mellow aromatics of pear, apple, quince, dough and cream, with a touch of wood smoke. On the palate, it has generous flavours of stonefruit and custard with balanced acidity.