Marlborough’s weather in 2012 was dominated by a La Niña weather event in late 2011 being cooler than normal and causing a delayed, then prolonged flowering period. This also resulted in a naturally lighter crop level and later a delay in harvest of between 5 and 12 days around the region. As is often the case, Marlborough’s weather provided an ideal harvest period and April 2012 was one of the sunniest in over eighty years. Rainfall was well below the April average, assisting greatly with the harvest timing. This ideal weather gave the opportunity to ripen fruit until flavours were at their optimum.
Soil Type The Stoneleigh vineyard sites are located on the northern side of the Wairau valley in close proximity to the mighty Wairau River. Often referred to as the ‘Rapaura Series’ of soils, they are characterised as young soils, based on river silts and stones. They tend to be low in nutrients and have poor waterholding capacity. A key feature is the preponderance of smooth sunstones that reflect the sun’s heat onto the grapes, enhancing ripening.
Clonal/ Rootstock Selection Clonally, this Pinot Noir is a mix of 10/5, UCD5, UCD6 and an array of ‘Dijon’ clones including 777, 667, 114 and 115. These are grown on a mixture of rootstocks matched to the various soil substrates.
Winemaking Details The grapes were harvested from the 3rd until the 21st of April 2012. After harvest, the grapes were destemmed then cold soaked for three to five days prior to fermentation. Fermentation was carried out in a combination of open-top and closed-top fermenters. A mixture of wild (~25%) and cultured yeast strains were used to express the essence of this unique terroir. The wine was drained off skins to barrel and underwent malolactic fermentation. At the end of fermentation the wine was left to mature in barrel.
Oak Regime This wine was barrel matured in barriques, the majority of which came from a number of selected French coopers. The winemaker has selected finegrained barrels of various ages made from threeyear seasoned wood to give the wine structure and flavour.
Aroma and Palate This wine has a deep, ruby red hue and a fragrant bouquet of blackberry, and dark cherry overlaid with integrated oak spice. The palate shows ripe, dark berry fruit and cherry flavours with lingering fruit sweetness. Tannins are soft and supple, making the wine immediately approachable.
Cellaring and Food Matching This wine is best enjoyed with succulent red meat dishes, such as spring lamb, duck, veal or game. Dishes featuring mushrooms or red berry fruits will also complement this Pinot Noir beautifully. This wine is designed for immediate enjoyment but will reward patient cellaring of up to five years.