WS 92 points, WA 92+ points (2012)
Imagine a black forest gateaux made with marinated black cherries and very ripe blackberries, served with a little creamy vanilla custard. A highly perfumed style of Marlborough pinot featuring exotic fruit sweetness, a cedar-like spiciness and a delicate smoky scent reminiscent of lapsang souchong. The palate is dense and generous with ripe cherry-plum richness, some soft licorice and clove and a fine but voluptuous tannin structure.
All fruit was grown in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys and principally sourced from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. Typical of this subregion, the wind-blown loess soils are comprised of clay-loams with differing degrees of gravel content. The various source blocks are cultivated to a mixture of pinot noir clones, predominantly the Dijon clones 115, 777 and 667, with smaller parcels of UCD5 and AM 10/5. The vineyards are primarily hillside plantings trained to two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) with a high vine density of 3788 plants per hectare.
The grapes were hand harvested and chilled overnight prior to hand sorting. Most of the fruit was then de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of fermentations with partial whole bunch inclusion. The fruit was allowed to soak on skins prior to the onset of indigenous yeast fermentation, then plunged daily. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and filled to French oak barriques (40% new). Individual clones were aged in barrel separately for 16 months, prior to blending in September. The wine was bottled in November 2014 with alcohol 14.0%, pH 3.68 and acidity 5.4 g/l.