Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2008 … Notes from the Vineyard and Winery.
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2008 …. Great reading about this terrific vintage direct from the Winery ….
The 2008 growing season was bizarre! Though, in light of recent events, we will also say that of Vintage 2011, but for different reasons. The 2008 season was hot, very hot; and dry. Every month saw average maximum temperatures well above the long term averages. The Mean January Temperature (MJT) was 22.0oC, whereas the long term average MJT is 17.0oC. The mean monthly temperatures remained high with 18.1oC in February and a surprising 18.9oC in March, which had eight days above 35oC.. And rainfall was unseasonally low, except for December 07 when powerful storms hit in the week before Christmas, with some hail damage. There was some damage to the fruiting structures, but it was the cane and bud damage that caused greater concern. This impacted on the harvest volumes in the 2009 Pinot vintage. Harvest started early, on 19 March, and continued for four weeks to 15 April. The fruit is from five clones – some 90% of the Pinot Noir plantings are equally 114, 115 and MV6, with the balance made up of Mariafeld and D5V12. The vine age, for that vintage was an average of 12 years. Planted on deep volcanic red soils, with no clay base, the vines are now exploiting an increasing soil volume, with some roots extending more than three metres.
As in prior vintages, harvest dates were based on acidity, and to a lesser extent, sensory assessment. The aim is to get the acid from the vineyard, rather than from a bag of tartaric. We measure sugar more out of interest than a harvest time parameter. A surprising feature of this wine is the moderately low alcohol, at 12.6%, in a hot year. Alcohol levels for the region were generally high; most above 14%, with some stretching to the 15% plus. Fermented in 29 lots, in various sizes, ranging from 500 litres to 5,000 litres. A good year for whole bunch inclusion, as fruiting structures were well lignified – overall whole bunch inclusion was approx 30%, varying across each lot, generally clone dependent. Most ferments with natural/ambient, with a couple inoculated as part of a yeast trial. Malolactic was natural, but achieved early through the use of our dedicated malo warm room. Oak is all French from a range of coopers, the main ones
being St Martin, Remond and Francois Frères. Time in oak was 22 months. No fining, and filtering was by multi-column cross-flow. Some 27% of the barrels, including some new, were declassified to our junior label, Williams Crossing. The wine was bottled in March 2010.