News, Vintage Reports

Vintage 2013

Saint Clair Family Estate has celebrated the end of another successful vintage. The 2013 harvest is now complete and the wine is in the tank.

The harvest was very concentrated, with a number of varieties and vineyard blocks coming in to the winery together. This kept the winery busy working 24 hours a day for 28 days.

Saint Clair is focussed on quality from vineyard to bottle and from a quality perspective the fruit looked great. Marlborough experienced some warm days in the lead up to harvest but the cold night time temperatures slowed the ripening at just the right time. With very little rain and less wind than normal the canopies stayed exceptionally green and healthy. This allowed the essential hang time for the fruit to develop the unique characteristics Marlborough is renowned for.

Overall quantity looks about average but up on last year (which was a small vintage).

Managing director Neal Ibbotson comments “we’re sitting in a really good position, we’ve got enough wine to supply our markets but don’t have excess. We’ve had a dream run, although it’s still early days, the quality is looking excellent and it all looks very promising.”

The first initial tastings of the Sauvignon Blanc’s are through ferment and looking great!

There is a lot of excitement in the winery at this time of the year. This year there is particular excitement surrounding potential for a Noble Botrytis Riesling. Saint Clair last produced a Late Harvest Riesling in 2009. There is an obvious risk with taking a bunch of ‘clean’ grapes suitable for table wine and leaving it out to develop full scale botrytis. It is dependent on many factors and potentially could fail, causing extensive rot problems. This year the micro-climate within the Godfrey’s Creek vineyard ended up with a near 100% infection of Noble Botrytis. The infection’s mode of action weakens the berries skin – the barrier to water loss from inside the fruit. At near 100% infection this meant that just about every berry was losing water and shrivelling but not losing the flavour, acidity and sugar.

The juice is still fermenting at the time of this post – time will tell if it is as good as the 2009.