The Wines

2009 Delta Hatter's Hill Pinot Noir

2009 Delta Hatter's Hill Pinot Noir

"Freshness, purity and lift. Managed the delicate balancing act between ripeness, vivacity and typicity better than any of its peers. And its use of oak was exemplary" Gold Medal, Sommelier Wine Awards 2012, UK

Vineyard

The Delta Farm, on the south side of Marlborough's Wairau Valley, was first established in 1848 and purchased in 2000 by four partners including winemaker Matt Thomson and London-based MW David Gleave. The Farm's low vigour clay soils, rather than the high vigour 'Sauvignon Blanc' loam soils closer to the Wairau River, were identified as perfect for Pinot Noir. The site was planted using the best of the Dijon clones in 2002 and 2003.

The vineyard comprises 32ha of just Pinot Noir. About 25% of the vineyard is on the 'flats', while 75% is on the hills that rise to about 175 metres. The vineyard's clay soil and elevation, plus

Marlborough's warm days and cool nights, excellent quality of light and constant breeze make this site ideal for producing top quality Pinot Noir. The Delta label comprises about two thirds of our production, with Hatters Hill making up the balance.

Vinification

The 2008/2009 season saw warm conditions for flowering which led to an excellent fruit set. The early part of the season was very dry, with warm days and cool nights, but a cooler and wetter February led to a later harvest and caused some concern for disease pressure. But the harvest period saw the return of dry and windy weather. This, coupled with meticulous attention in the vineyard to reduce yield, meant that this fruit was picked in optimum condition. This is apparent in the concentration of fruit, and delicate aromatics of this wine.

Fruit was hand-harvested in separate batches then destemmed, but not crushed, into small open-top fermenters. A small portion of 'whole bunch' was retained for tannic complexity. Open tops were used to reduce the amount of alcohol in the resulting wines, which in turn helped to improve balance, eliminating the hot, 'spirity' characters of many new world Pinot Noirs.

After a five day cold-soak to stabilise the colour, fermentation took place at temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius, with frequent gentle hand-plunging.

Most batches pressed at dryness though about 15% of the tanks were left on skins for another week before pressing to stabilise the colour and to improve the structure.

After settling to remove solids, the wine was racked to a mixture of new (50%), and seasoned (18%) French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation and ageing on light yeast lees.

The wine was then blended and bottled after ten months of ageing.

Tasting Note

Colour: Deep ruby red

Nose: Rich concentrated. Fragrant aromas of Dawson cherries and ripe plums, integrated with lifted floral notes.

Palate: A complex palate, complemented by smoky hints from French oak. Elegant tannins lead to a rich flavour that lasts.