Greywacke Chardonnay 2019
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Greywacke (pronounced Greywacky) is the Marlborough label of the Judd family and the name of New Zealand’s most abundant bedrock. These understated grey river stones are found throughout Marlborough’s rivers and alluvial vineyard soils. Established in 2009, Greywacke is truly a family affair and while the company now exports its wines all over the world, the ethos is very much ‘keep it simple and hands-on’ with a small, dedicated team running the company from Greywacke HQ in the heart of Marlborough’s Omaka Valley. The fruit is sourced from mature vineyards in prime viticultural sites to optimise the potential afforded by Marlborough’s sunny South Pacific climate.
Breakfast or dessert? Toasted brioche, lightly buttered with a generous dollop of grapefruit marmalade, or a lemon curd tart garnished with lemon blossom petals and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts. An elaborate fusion of sweet-scented aromatics and a smoky, nutty savouriness that carries through onto a wonderfully dry, flinty palate. A rich, opulent wine that has great concentration, tight structure and excellent ageing potential.
The grapes for this wine are primarily the low-yielding Mendoza clone, known for its concentration of flavour and crisp acidity; the balance is Clone 95. The majority of fruit was sourced from the lower reaches of the Brancott Valley and Fairhall, grown in gravelly, clayloam soils, with the remainder coming from Renwick and Rapaura, grown in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones. The vineyards were mostly trained using a two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis, with the balance on the divided Scott Henry canopy management system.
The vineyards were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and whole-bunch pressed using very low maceration press cycles. Some of the fruit was pressed directly to barrel, the balance was lightly settled and then racked to barrel. The juice went through a natural indigenous yeast fermentation in French oak barriques (16% new), with the final phase continuing for many months. The wine received occasional lees stirring and underwent a complete malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak after 11 months and bottled in November 2020 with alcohol 14.1%, pH 3.24 and acidity of 5.9 g/l.