Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017  £18.95

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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. Winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley joined Framingham in 2001, bringing with him an obsession with – and a reputation for – making great Riesling. Indeed, Jancis Robinson MW hails Andrew as “one of the most skilled practitioners of Riesling anywhere in the world”.

Framingham 2017 Marlborough Pinot Noir is blended from fruit from low-cropped, reasonably well exposed grapes harvested from four different sites around Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, from a mixture of clones. The vines are up to 20 years old and are planted on mostly clay based soils.

2017 was a widely acknowledged difficult vintage in Marlborough. Unprecedented amounts of precipitation through the growing and picking season meant that disease was an ever-present threat. Framingham's expertise in vineyard management meant that, even under these circumstances, their harvest was a success.

Hand-picked bunches were gently destemmed into stainless steel open top fermenters in the winery; however some batches had whole bunch components of up to 20%. These musts were held cold for five to eight days to promote extraction. Plunging was carried out three times per day during fermentation (with both spontaneous and inoculated yeasts) and temperatures were allowed to peak at around 30°C. Once fermentation was complete, wines were assessed daily for extraction and structure, and were pressed when this was deemed to be in balance. Some parcels, largely from the vineyards with more clay content, were left on skins longer to provide structure and some savoury elements. The wines underwent malolactic fermentation and 10 months maturation in a mixture of new and seasoned French barriques, approximately 20% of which were new. After maturation, the selected base wines were blended and bottled un-fined and un-filtered.

The nose is complex with attractive savoury notes of smoked meats and spice, along with cherry, plum and floral nuances. The rounded palate has flavours of red berry compote and plum with savoury and flinty notes. Well-integrated tannins give the wine a balanced structure.

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