A complex wine that shows intense dry musky rose like perfume combined with savoury earth and spice. The wine is full flavoured: black cherry fruit with a silky through the palate and fine grained tannins with a long finish of earthy and spice.
All our grapes are grown on our exceptional hillside vineyard above the Waihopai Valley. The vineyard lies on a loess outcrop of the Southern Marlborough hills at 200m above sea level with a very favourable North Easterly aspect. Pinot vines were first planted in 2000 with a European approach, close vine spacing and high density (approx 5,000/ha) using a wide variety of clones. We run the vineyard using a biodynamic philosophy and are also in organic conversion. The focus is enhancing the soil structure and microbiology and encouraging vine health through making compost and applying the biodynamic preparations. We work with the vines growth cycles and natural rhythms to achieve the best quality of fruit and truest expression of our vineyard site.
2010 was an excellent growing season for Churton Pinot Noir. A slow onset to flowering meant that crops were limited. Fortunately flowering finished very quickly this resulted in very uniform bunch and berry size. Warm, very dry weather throughout January and February ensured sufficient ‘stress’ in the vineyard, allowing for good tannin polymerization and lignifications of seeds. This also kept the berry size down allowing for small concentrated berries. From veraison in early February through to harvest the weather was warm and dry with ideal ripening conditions. The finish of the season was superb another wonderful Indian summer. Nights were slightly warmer than usual which has resulted in wines with lower acidity than previous years. Picking started a little later than normal on 29th March. Average Yields across the Pinot Noir was 35hl/ha.
The fruit was all hand picked. The fruit was all exceptionally clean and wonderfully balanced. The resulting musts had excellent balance of sugar and acid with very good tannin maturity at around 23.5 – 24.5 Brix.
The whole bunches are de-stemmed and transferred by gravity to open fermenters. Each vineyard parcel of grapes is kept separate. Each parcel is multi clonal, fermenting mixed clones in our view is vitally important for complexity and true integration. The wines are cool soaked for about 7 days prior to fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation is with natural indigenous yeast and is very rapid and warm. Following fermentation the wine is macerated warm on skins for up to three weeks with careful assessment of tannin and fruit development. The wine is pressed off, free run and pressings kept separate then settled for 48 hours before filling to French Oak barrels, 20% new. It is aged in barrel for 14 months where it undergoes a natural malo-lactic ferment in spring. The wine is racked once and fined with a light egg white fining to help clarify, prior to bottling.
The 2016 vintage has not yet been reviewed, but past vintages have scored 90+ points:
"Medium-deep ruby with a hint of purple to the color, the 2011 Pinot Noir reveals aromas of kirsch, red currant jelly and lavender over underlying Provence herb and damp loam nuances. Medium-bodied and relatively structured in the mouth by a medium to firm level of chewy tannins and lively acid, it finishes with good length. Drink it now to 2017+. ” 90+ points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, Wine Advocate
"Medium deep ruby-purple in color, the 2010 Pinot Noir has expressive, warm red plum and red cherry compote notes with hints of cloves, cinnamon, lilacs and lavender. Medium-bodied with a good amount of red berry and spice flavors, it has medium levels of grainy tannins, with just enough balanced acid and a long finish." 91 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, Wine Advocate