Regionally, Chardonnay is a star performer – and a favourite of ours. It is a variety which opens up a world of winemaking options and challenges. Ultimately though it is the character of the fruit itself which determines the most appropriate wine style. The role of the winemaker is to discover this character and allow it to express itself.
Intrinsic to our Chardonnays are citrus fruits and a fine, mineral vitality. Site and low yields provide the fruit concentration and underlying power which supports subtle layers of complexity without veiling the restrained elegance and energy essential to these wines.
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Predominantly from the Morison Vineyard, Hope, planted in 2000, managed organically and BioGro certified since 2014. Clone B95 is planted in the top part of the vineyard where 1-1.5 meters of heavier clays, washed down from the hills immediately behind overlay the loamy, stony gravels typical of this part of the Waimea Plains. Vines are cane pruned on a single fruiting wire with a target yield of 6-7 tonnes per hectare. Machine harvested and de-stemmed in the vineyard and transferred directly to press. Juice was briefly settled and transferred with moderate solids to French oak barriques and puncheons, (19% new) for fermentation. For this vintage all barrels were inoculated with selected yeast. A portion of the wine (65%) has undergone secondary malolactic fermentation (MLF) to further soften acidity and enhance mouthfeel.
The 2016 vintage has provided ripe fruit flavours, balance and drinkability. This style is influenced by the softer acidity of clone B95 which imparts charm and accessibility. The nose is deep rather than overt, with aromas of lemon curd, tangelo and apricot. There is a depth of mellow fruit on the front palate with excellent balance and integration of elements. A small portion of Hope Vineyard clones UCD15 and Mendoza within the final blend contribute drive and palate length. Typically, citrus fruits are in evidence complimented by melon and yellow-fleshed fruits. A little new oak spice and creamy, barrel ferment derived richness compliments the ripe fruit flavours and adds a hint of phenolic/textural interest.
2015 Hope Vineyard Chardonnay
“Beautifully spun flavours . . . hazelnut, yellow flowers, wild honey are set against attractive weight and texture. There is some richness here, but it’s not the main thing. That role is taken by the lovely fruit.” – John Saker, Nelson Mail, March, 2017
Hope Vineyard Chardonnay is made from the intensely-flavoured, high acid Mendoza clone grown in the Winery and Road Blocks, 9 and 18 years old respectively. These have been managed organically since 2008 and are fully BioGro certified. All fruit is hand harvested and whole bunch pressed to tank where it is very briefly settled before racking to French oak barriques. Indigenous (wild yeast) fermentation begins within 3-5 days and completes over a period of months, some barrels sooner. Yeast lees are stirred several time per month during the first winter. This vintage remained in barrel on full yeast lees for 16 months during which time malolactic fermentation completed.
The Mendoza clone provides this wine with excellent concentration and structure which has been modulated and enriched by the winemaking process. Typical of the Hope Chardonnay, this wine expresses ripe citrus fruit aromas and flavours. Malo character is not overt but softens acidity and contributes to palate richness. Lower impact oak is selected to support and harmonise with the fruit. There is a purity and vivacity which we are at pains to preserve throughout while at the same time building palate texture and complexity. At all times the goal is to allow the restrained elegance and energy of this wine to shine through.