Ben didn't want to manipulate the grapes into a pre-conceived idea of a wine, preferring to bring the best expression of the Marlborough and Central Otago vineyards to the end result in the glass. “I enjoy the expressiveness of what whole bunch fermentation does to a wine. It provides sinew, structure, support, and suppleness, away from primary fruit characteristics. This is the key for both wines, and helps show off each of their personalities.”
The 2022 was, as Ben describes it, “a Goldilocks vintage – not too hot, not too cold, it was just right!”, but with some subtle differences between the two regions.
“For Central Otago, 2022 was a cracking vintage with a fantastic even ripening period throughout the growing season. Vignerons still had to massage and conjure but the fruit was pristine and poised. The wine is most certainly NOT an exhibitionist but if you let it relax in the glass, it will provide a most elegant encore.”
“Further up, from Te Waipounamu to Marlborough’s Southern valleys, we encountered light, yielding vines, and good heat. Where vines were sheltered and protected from the direct heat by good, speckled shading, we encountered fruit that made wines with fantastic poise and structure, bright red and with some unreal ageing potential.”
It’s been a thrill to work with Ben on these wines and, fortunately for us and our members, he shares the ethos of the Society. “It is a real privilege to be involved with a business that plays the long game – much like us all in agriculture and viticulture” says Ben, “being aware of and being authentic when it comes to Kaitiakitanga (custodianship, guardian), Whanaungatanga (relationships, connections, kinship) and Manaakitanga (kindness, generosity) – all leading to our Turangawaewae (where we stand, a sense of place).”
I think these wines are an extraordinary way to explore the nuances of New Zealand Pinot Noir and taste the fruits of Ben’s expertise; the perfect pair for autumn.