Grapes were sourced from estate and grower vineyards located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Free draining, stony soils typify the Rapaura and Renwick areas whilst Fairhall and Brancott are predominantly aged alluvial loams containing some clay. The majority of fruit was grown on a vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellis with three canes laid down. In 2012, average sauvignon blanc yields were 7 tonnes/hectare.
Spring in Marlborough was warm and sunny encouraging good shoot growth. Come December, the temperatures dipped. Cool and cloudy days were all too frequent resulting in a poor flower set and therefore lower than usual crop levels. Summer continued with cool temperatures (in fact, the lowest sunshine hours in 80 years) forcing grapes to ripen slowly. Brilliant blue skies arrived come Easter and unusually warm Autumn conditions allowed grapes to fully ripen. Our Sauvignon Blanc harvest commenced on the 12th of April under cool, yet settled Autumn conditions. Consistent with years past the first fruit was harvested from the stonier, young river bed soils in the Rapaura and Renwick subregions. Our Sauvignon Blanc harvest was quick and compact, lasting only three weeks, meaning all fruit had a long “hang-time” resulting in excellent flavour development. The final block was harvested on the 2nd of May. Despite the cool season, naturally low yields ensured that all fruit was harvested with excellent physiological maturity and ripeness, producing fruit with outstanding flavour and balance. The 2012 harvest was down by 25%.
Fruit was harvested over a range of 21.9 to 23.8 Bx during the cool of the night and early morning. Free-run and lightly pressed juice was cold settled for 48-96 hours, before racking over a range of low to high turbidities. Fermentation was primarily carried out in stainless steel, however consistent with the last two years and some of the early Cloudy Bay vintages, a small percentage was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques. Despite lower than target yields, the wine was stringently blended, including only the strongest 54 batches from a total of 69 distinct parcels.