Without consulting my trusty Thesaurus, I am not entirely sure what the word unctuous means. However if I have ever tasted a wine that fits the word better or evokes the feeling of unctuousness more strongly, it has entirely slipped my mind. As thick as a peanut butter Dagwood sandwich and as sweet as an overaged cherub, this wine wraps itself around you like a well-worn tyre and will not release you unscathed.
No one was as surprised as we were by the way our customers old and new, took to this little known grape variety with the unpronounceable name. We’ve heard it called everything from Grunter Vintner to Groovy Jetliner but the important thing is that people were charmed by the unusual combination of grainy texture, beguiling sweetness, bounteous fruit and an acid balance which walks just a little on the wild side –and many were prepared to put their money where their mouths had just been.
“A Momentary Lapse of Riesling”; or so claims the T-shirt of yet another ever-hopeful winemaker wondering why his freshly fruited and heavily textured young wine is left sitting on the shelf. However, after 20 years of putting this variety under the noses of wine lovers we finally see the odd glimmer of recognition and realise that at long last at least some people are getting it.
It is generally accepted that Sauvignon Blanc, any Sauvignon Blanc should be drunk while the vintage on the label still matches the year on the home screen of your mobile phone. But dare to dream…. what if you cellared the wine for 2, 3 or 4 years, would the fruit really taste like an overcooked tin of beans?
We are in the luxurious position of being able to give this wine exactly what it needed most - time. As with the previous vintage, it spent 9 months on full yeast lees with 15% of the juice having been fermented and aged in old oak. More importantly, after bottling it sat quietly in the cellar for a further 18 months. Gone is the stroppy, scatty, gangly adolescent and instead we welcome a calm, sophisticated and urbane baby-boomer just itching for some intellectual intercourse.
If there is one wine which has benefited most from the adoption of screwcaps, it is New Zealand Chardonnay. This is a truly personal opinion but whereas under cork the fruit tended to stray down a somewhat unattractive of path reminiscent of canned beans within a couple of years of bottling, when sealed with a screwcap they remain fresher and can be aged for many years like most other white wines.
Rosé is truly a fickle mistress. From pale pink as innocent as the blush on the cheeks of a virgin bride through to deep clotted crimson flowing freely from the jugular vein in a Dracula movie, she can be all things to all men. As winemakers we like to think we have control over this aspect but the colour of the final product can be a poor reflection of the juice which initially flows from the press, and we must therefore shoot for the stars to land on the moon!