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Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2017 £32.95
Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay
Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.
The grapes for this wine are primarily sourced from the low-yielding Mendoza clone, known for its concentration of flavour and crisp acidity; the balance was from Clone 95. The majority of the fruit was sourced from the lower reaches of the Brancott Valley and Fairhall, grown in gravelly, clay-loam soils, the remainder coming from Renwick and Rapaura, grown in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones. The majority of the vineyards were trained using a two-cane VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning) trellis with the balance on the divided Scott Henry canopy management system.
The season started in a timely fashion and settled conditions during December allowed a generous crop to set. Extremely low rainfall during the early summer put pressure on water supplies, but rain in early January broke the drought and vineyards flourished as temperatures started to climb above average in the New Year. Considerable thinning was carried out across all varieties to establish ideal cropping levels. Harvest started in mid-March, and in late March northerly airstreams brought some rain, which put pressure on the harvest and led to the remedial canopy and crop management being needed in many vineyards. Temperatures remained well above average and Marlborough’s classic Indian summer made a welcome appearance allowing vineyards to achieve full ripeness.
The vineyards were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and the whole bunch pressed using very low maceration press cycles. The resulting juice was lightly settled and racked to French oak barriques (20% new). The juice was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, the final phase continuing for many months. The wine received occasional lees stirring and underwent a complete malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak after 18 months and bottled in December 2017.
An enticing combination of pink grapefruit, burnt orange and white nectarine are interwoven with aromas of smoked almonds, hazelnut, and freshly cut hay. The savoury notes carry through onto the rich, textural palate, evidence of this wine’s low-intervention winemaking. An intricate bone-dry style that is highly concentrated with a distinct flintiness, tight structure and crisp, citrus finish.