Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir

Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir Image

Think New Zealand Pinot Noir and you may think Martinborough... however Hawke's Bay is the new kid on the block with some stunning wines!

Whilst we are currently exploring the wonders of Pinot Noir I thought it would be good to shed a little insight into the region and winery which has produced the beautiful Cellar Selection and Pleateau Pinot Noir which we are currently featuring.

The below article exert explains how Sileni use two different cool climate vineyards to produce their two very different Pinot Noirs.

Enjoy! X


Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir

This story first appeared in New Zealand Winegrower magazine, August 2016.

Let's play a word game: a winemaker says cool climate, active limestone and early ripening black grape variety. You say a black grape that fits the bill, which consumers know, like and want to buy.

If Pinot Noir springs to your lips, Hawke's Bay probably doesn't spring to mind because it has historically been considered this country's most suitable region for mid to late ripening grapes, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The region's winemakers are now keen to add another string to their red winemaking bow and they are increasingly experimenting with earlier ripening black grapes than traditional wisdom dictated.

Enter Pinot Noir and Gamay.

'The Plateau' Pinot NoirThe two can stand on their own two feet and can also, literally, be thrown together to make Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, whose French name means all thrown together. This wine comes from Burgundy and must contain at least 30 percent Pinot Noir. It is described as a red thirst quencher in the new Oxford Companion to Wine and, while very little leaves France, a significant amount is produced there; almost two thirds the amount of Bourgogne Rouge.

The concept was inadvertently used by Grant Edmonds, head winemaker at Sileni Estates in Hawke's Bay, where the winemaking team are sourcing Pinot Noir from vineyards in cooler areas in the Bay than where their Merlot and later ripening grapes grow.

They have also blended a smidgeon of Gamay into one of the winery's accessibly priced Pinot Noirs, with good success. The amount was well below the threshold of 14.9% – it was in fact less than 5% – so did not need to be and was not named on the label.

“We get a little bit of Gamay from a grower and we find it works well as part of the blend. It has good colour, which is always handy to have with Pinot Noir,” Edmonds says.

Pinot Noir is the second most planted grape variety at Sileni Estates and is gaining importance for the winery, which is one of the biggest producers in Hawke's Bay.

Edmonds and his winemaking team are sourcing Pinot Noir from two relatively cool climate vineyards.

The first of these is at Te Awanga, where the growing season is shortened by the cool coastal winds and the second is inland at Mangatahi, on the south side of the Ngaruroro River. The vineyard there is 120 metres above sea level, which instantly knocks one degree Celcius off its ripening temperatures.

The winds that sweep along this exposed hillside vineyard (planted at 150 metres above sea level) also cools down the temperatures there.

In viticultural terms, Edmonds suggests that the grapes ripening on this vineyard are ready to pick Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noirapproximately seven to 10 days later than the other grapes that he sources from the plains.

“This is the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy in terms of temperature. When we look at where the potential is to expand vineyards for Pinot Noir, we are looking beyond here to areas, such as the old river beds in Central Hawke's Bay, mainly Waipawa and Waipukurau across to Highway 50 and beyond.”

Edmonds is not alone in seeing Pinot Noir's positive potential in the Bay but because Sileni Estates' wine production is relatively large, he can see it having a significant impact on the volume of Pinot from the Bay. He is therefore keen to shape a positive profile for Pinot Noir there.

For the full article click here: http://www.joellethomson.com/2016/08/13/hawkes-bay-pinot/



Last Updated: 07/09/2016
Author: Sarah Hattersley
Sarah Hattersley

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