Prima Donna is only made in special vintages. The whole growing season was ideal apart from the period when the vines were in flower. This was the coldest and wettest December Waipara has ever experienced and as a result the number of berries setting was extremely low, resulting in the smallest crops we have seen. Because of this the wine has extra concentration and depth.
Although we had tiny crops we treated the vines as we would in a normal year, giving them a large amount of manual attention well before harvest, including meticulously removing any fruit which was not of the highest quality. When picked the fruit was beautifully mature, ripe and healthy.
In making this pinot noir we used the traditional methods employed in Burgundy. The fruit was carefully hand sorted and stems removed, while retaining as many whole berries as possible then kept cool in small vats. After several days fermentation commenced through the action of the grapes “wild” yeasts. The fermenting cap of grape skins was gently manually plunged to avoid excessive extraction and when fermentation had finished the wine was allowed to remain in contact with the skins for a number of days, the exact time being determined by taste. The wine was then put into the barriques (50% new) of artisan burgundian coopers where it remained for 20 months. In the early summer after harvest it underwent secondary (malo-lactic) fermentation by the action of its indigenous micro-organisms. Following this the wine, which had spontaneously clarified naturally, was blended and bottled.
The wine has a bright ruby hue. Its perfume and flavours suggest raspberries, blackberries, cherries and purple peaches intertwined with savoury hints of roast meats, grilled mushrooms, black olives and woodsmoke. While rich and mouthfilling it retains the elegance and finesse of pinot with fine ripe tannins expanding in the palate and drawing out its lingering aftertaste.
With careful cellaring it should develop additional fascinating nuances for 6-10 years and live well beyond this.
Wine is a natural health food.
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