Early mild spring conditions (in New Zealand September till November 2013) set the vineyard up for a luscious 2014 Pinot Noir harvest. Further in the ripening season a temperate summer with average sunshine hours and sporadic rain followed. All the Pinot Noir blocks benefitted from this slightly slower ripening process and the resulting longer hang time. A bountiful amount of grapes were preparing to ripen.
Extensive crop thinning was used to gain perfectly even ripening. Leaf removal was also used; the goal was to open up the canopy of the vines thus giving the fruit good sun exposure and bringing them into perfect balance. The growing season gave us beautiful clean fruit with optimum physiological ripeness and great intensity of flavors.
The vineyard is planted with four different clones; clone 114, 115, 777 and clone 5. The clones are planted on various rootstocks (Riparia Gloire, 101-14 and Schwarzmann). Because each clone and rootstock combination is planted on quite different soils on either side of the vineyard, each of the parcels has its own unique flavour and tannin structure.
Map Maker Pinot Noir was hand-harvested and de-stemmed prior to going to open top fermenters in which the various components underwent a cold soak phase of 6-10 days. This was followed by a warm alcoholic fermentation by predominantly wild yeasts. We then did quite a long ‘post-fermentation maceration’ which for some parcels lasted up to 40 days. Once this post fermentation maceration was complete, the wine was pressed off, settled briefly and racked straight to barrels to mature and undergo a natural malo-lactic fermentation. All this wine matured well in barrels, adding to its structure and complexity.