A COOL SEASON REDEEMED BY IDEAL AUTUMN CONDITIONS, PRODUCING WINES WITH EXCELLENT FLAVOUR PROFILES AND CONCENTRATON.
Pale straw green in colour and strikingly aromatic, the 2004 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc evokes memories of a late summer picnic ... the spiciness of vine ripened tomatoes with freshly picked basil, red currants, juicy mandarins and a zesty lemon cake. Layers of pure, bracing fruit flavours on the palate finish with terrific intensity and length ... and the crispness of a crunchy green apple.
Grapes were sourced from eight estate and grower vineyards located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Free draining, stony soils typify the Rapaura and Renwick areas whilst Fairhall and Brancott are predominantly fine alluvial loams containing some clay. The majority of fruit was grown on the divided Scott Henry trellis system with the exception of a small percentage of young vines. Crops were thinned in January to ensure the grapes reached full maturity and yields averaged 10.7 Tonne/hectare (4.3 Tonne/acre).
Cool weather during the spring of 2003 culminated in a frost alert in the Southern Valleys on November 18th – exactly 12 months to the day of the severe frost in 2002. Helicopters were on stand-by to mitigate frost damage to tender vine shoots, with minimal damage occurring only in the most sheltered vineyard sites. Very warm and dry conditions during December and January ensured even flowering and desirable fruit-set. An unusually cool and cloudy February was redeemed by mild sunny weather during March and April, and complete physiological ripeness was achieved. Although the season was protracted – and at times precarious – new state-of-the-art fruit receival facilities enabled all varieties to be harvested with great efficiency at optimum ripeness.
The Sauvignon Blanc harvest began on the 8th April, the first fruit coming from the stonier blocks around the winery. Harvesting continued steadily through the progressively later ripening sites, harvest dates being dictated by achievement of optimum fruit flavours. The last fruit was harvested in the Brancott valley on the 28th of April.
The fruit was machine harvested during the cooler night and early morning temperatures and transported directly to the winery. The grapes were de-stemmed and transferred straight to tank presses. Free run and lightly pressed juice was cold settled for 48 hours then racked and inoculated with a neutral yeast strain. The fermentations were carried out in stainless steel tanks; after fermentation the wine remained in contact with yeast lees for about two months, prior to blending in July and subsequent bottling in September. Final wine analysis shows an alcohol of 13.6%, pH of 3.17 and titratable acidity 7.8 g/L.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay | Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc | Cloudy Bay 2003 Sauvignon Blanc Vintage |