2020 was a classical year with plenty of sunshine, not too much heat through Summer and a return to cool nights late in the season, ensuring acidities and flavours remained bright and vibrant. This was all built on good rainfall pre Christmas, which set the vines up with healthy working canopies that held through to the end of harvest. It will also be remembered for a long time as the vintage where the threat of COVID 19 loomed large.
We had a tense few days as we waited to hear if the government would allow us to continue to operate as an ‘essential business’ on the 23rd March. With this in mind, and unsure of how the decision would fall, we decided to start bringing in Sauvignon Blanc solidly from Saturday 21st March, having largely brought in smaller picks for sparkling wine, Rosé, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir prior to this, from March 2nd. The start of the Sauvignon harvest was a few days’ earlier than we would have normally commenced, but we felt it prudent in the circumstances to ‘bank some fruit.’ Even after we learnt of our essential business status, there was no time to catch our breath as we felt it would have only taken a cluster of COVID cases appearing in any Marlborough winery for the government to reverse its decision. Gratefully, this never happened and we had a smooth run through harvest with the last fruit hitting the receival bin on Wednesday April 8th. It was a huge relief that the winery was able to operate throughout without incident nor illness.
We were blessed with clear skies and low disease pressure for the whole of harvest and as a result, have real aromatic brightness and purity in the wines, with lovely juiciness in many Sauvignon parcels. The Pinot Noirs are deep in colour, striking a nice balance between fruit expression and structure while the Chardonnays are rich and full while still possessing palate freshness. We have some lovely delicate rosé and sparkling wine parcels and the Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are powerful and concentrated expressions. Spoilt for choice, tt’s proven difficult to have a favourite variety this year but the winemaking team is certainly enjoying the blending sessions!