This white grape variety is a close relative of Pinot Noir though rare by comparison here in New Zealand. Pinot Blanc is versatile and responds well to different winemaking approaches. Tank fermented it can be aromatic, fruit-driven and fresh while barrel fermentation nudges it in the direction of Chardonnay. Either way, the wine has a relatively rich, textural quality which builds with bottle age. Like Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, the wine is naturally low in acidity and gains structure and length of flavour from subtle exposure to oak and extended lees contact.
Hope Vineyard Pinot Blanc is made in small quantity from some of our oldest vines, planted in 1976. It is fermented and aged for an extended period (16-18 months), in seasoned, larger format French oak. This imparts a gentle spiciness, creamy texture and complexity while allowing the dense, soft fruit characters typical of the variety to remain as the hero of the wine.
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2014 Hope Vineyard Pinots Blanc
“Greenhough is just a handful of wineries working with the variety and makes an attractive example that’s rich and creamy textured with notes of apple, white fruits, spice and nut and finishes with a fresh zing of citrus.” – Jo Burzynska, Viva
A few rows of own-rooted vines from the 1976 foundation plantings are the inspiration for this wine. We manage it as we do its cousin, Pinot Noir, removing third bunches and shoulders to reduce yields and promote evenly ripened fruit. Low yields are essential to concentration and palate weight. Hand harvest allows exclusion of damaged or unhealthy bunches and wider options for handling in the winery. Fruit is whole bunch pressed and the juice briefly settled to remove the heaviest solids before racking to seasoned 500 litre French oak puncheons for wild fermentation. The wine is matured on yeast lees for an extend period (16-18 months) with occasional stirring during this period. The 2014 vintage underwent partial malolactic fermentation to further soften acidity and add complexity. It also included 27% Pinot Gris and hence the labelling as Pinots Blanc. Blended in September 2014, un-fined, filtered and bottled in December.
As the wine opens, aromas are strikingly perfumed with an exotic quality. Ripe fresh pears, baked apple, guava, and star anise. There’s also a mealy richness from extended time on yeast lees. The palate begins with fleshy stone fruits, appealingly soft and sweet-edged and enhancing a rounded mouthfeel. This progresses to more subdued fruit characters integrated with subtle nutty, spicy layers and flinty minerals related to extended time in barrel. There is an expansive vibrancy towards the end with liquorice/aniseed spice and gentle phenolic interest which draws the palate out. This is a powerful wine with an intriguing interplay between the soft opulence of ripe fruits and a pervasive mineral clarity and mantle of velvety phenolics.
“A blend of pinot planc and pinot gris co-fermented and aged on lees for 11 months in seasoned French oak puncheons. Delicately aromatic with a delicious mouth-filling and super-smooth texture. Subtle fruit and savoury nut flavours” – 95/100 Bob Campbell, gourmettravellerwine.com Dec/Jan, p140