de la terre Reserve Chardonnay 2014


Tasting Notes: Colour: – Healthy pale straw colour typical of young Chardonnay

Nose: – A wonderful marriage of fruit, yeast and French oak with signature notes of minerality and a slight mealy  complexity

Palate: – A rich and powerful ‘attack’ followed by a luscious mid-palate and great length
‘Balance’ is the key here – our aim is for harmony between the key elements – fruit, oak and complexity.
Texture, balance and elegance and the three cornerstones of de la terre’s winemaking – the Reserve Chardonnay 2014 clearly showcases this.

Cellaring: 8 – 10 years
Production Quantity: 1728 bottles produced, estate bottled, hand-labelled, individually numbered
Winemaker’s Notes
Vineyard: Hill Country Estate
The Grapes: Hand-picked from Block 7 – all fruit in excellent condition – small, clean, golden bunches from selected low-yielding vines.
Wine Style: This is a savoury and ‘mealy’ Chardonnay style showcasing a careful integration of fruit, yeast and French oak. The limestone soils combined with the specific winemaking methods used also provide an interesting minerality. Essentially a French Burgundy /European style with a ‘New Zealand signature’.

The style is essentially the same as the 2013 Reserve wine – the key differences being the tighter fruit selection, slightly higher new oak level and a greater portion of indigenous yeast fermentation.
This is definitively a ‘food wine’ style and one designed for extended bottle ageing

Winemaking Notes: Hand picking and whole bunch pressing is key to the texture and finesse – avoiding the harshness associated with machine harvesting, crushing and heavy pressing.

Also critical to our Chardonnay winemaking is the use of technique of hyperoxidation – this involves pressing the juice in the absence of SO2 and allowing the juice to oxidise pre-fermentation. This removes a significant pool of phenolics which improves the palate texture and allows the wine to age more slowly and gracefully.

Most barrels were fermented using indigenous (‘wild’) yeast based on our experience with this technique in 2013. This vintage, I did a small trial ‘starving’ the yeast of nutrients to induce some additional brimstone/’ struck-match’ complexity – didn’t work – the wines were just as clean as the others!

I also looked at a barrel of high-solids juice (straight from the press) and wild yeast – again to move to a slightly more complex/mealy style.

Again, 100% barrel fermented in French barriques – 50% of these were new (compared to 40% in 2013).

The 50% new oak component also underwent full malo-lactic fermentation (malo) – again using a special technique after malo to ensure the butteriness (diacetyl) is more restrained and integrated. We are looking for textural benefits as well as a creamy aroma and flavour rather than obvious buttery characters from malo.

Barrels were battonaged (lees-stirred) twice-weekly for the whole time the wine remained in contact with the yeast lees (~ 9 months) – to enhance the ‘bready’ / yeasty characters, soften the texture and protect the wine from excessive oxygen during barrel-ageing.

Finished using traditional fining and filtration methods.