Harvest Report 2015 Vintage
This years’ harvest in Marlborough has been
one of the earliest, driest and warmest since I arrived in 1995.
Growing degree days were about 10% above
the long term average, and rainfall was only about 40% of normal.
The Astrolabe harvest started with Pinot
Noir for Rosé on the 13 March, and finished with Albariño on the
21st April. Pinot Gris was picked between 22 March and 9
April over a 19 day period, and Sauvignon Blanc from 27 March to
the 15 April over a 20 day period.
This year crops were well-balanced,
matching our targets set against the soil capacity of the vineyard sites –
without the need for any significant crop thinning. In general berry size was a
little up, berry number and bunch weight and number down.
Flavours and aromas in the wines from the
harvest seem strong, and early indications are that the wines will be of superior
quality across all varieties. The warmer and earlier season has meant good
sugar and low acid in the fruit when picked for optimal flavour. As a result,
the winemaking has been very straightforward, and fermentations have been
healthy and clean.
Pinot Gris has good structure, with lower
than normal phenolics. Flavours range from pear in the Waihopai Valley, through
red apple and ripe stone fruit in the Awatere. By and large pH has remained
low, and the wines have a nice feeling of mineral through the palate.
Sauvignon Blanc in the Awatere Valley has
been very good, and the wines show more thiol than usual – perhaps due to larger
berry size and less phenolics. Classic Awatere flavours are abundant, with a
good array of jalapeno, lime zest, white peach and white currant in the wines.
Flavours have also been strong in the Wairau Valley, with some thiol and a ripe
citrus profile. I expect our Astrolabe Province and Awatere Sauvignon Blanc to
be very good, as should also be the Durvillea.
Pinot Noir has had another good season.
Nice ripe flavours and plush but soft tannins seem to be the early indication
in the barrels. I am happy with the other varieties, with lifted aromatics
evident in the Rieslings, and elegant structure in the Chardonnay. It has been
a very good year in Marlborough, and my job as a winemaker has been made very
easy by the quality and balance of the grapes at harvest. I’m looking forward
with excitement to see the wines in the bottle.
17th June, 2016.