Easthope Family Winegrowers Skeetfield Vineyard Chardonnay
Hand picked, whole bunch pressed, wild ferment, unfined, unfiltered.
The vinous stars all align on the Skeetfield Vineyard, owned by Denis and Sally Gunn.
23 years ago this site was planted with Mendoza Clone Chardonnay vines. The union between the soil, the climate and these mature vines result in grapes that Hawke’s Bay winemakers fight over. So we consider ourselves very fortunate to access a few carefully chosen rows.
The resulting Chardonnay grapes possess considerable flavour and a natural balance that allows us to indulge our quest to craft a wine using artisanal techniques. Hand picking is the crucial starting point, followed by whole bunch pressing which aims to extract not only the juice, but also a high proportion of grape solids. The cloudy juice is then run directly to oak barrels where a natural fermentation occurs – these techniques being crucial to unlocking the mineral and floral elements from the fruit.
Then comes winter where the wine sleeps undisturbed until spring warmth encourages malolactic fermentation to proceed naturally. This Chardonnay spends a total of ten months maturing in barrel and in contact with yeast lees.
2017 is an absolute cracker. These old dry farmed Chardonnay vines just keep delivering unbelievable fruit from year to year. This year it was matured in used French oak puncheons and as a result the oak character is in the background and the virtues of the vineyard are fully expressed.
Hand Picked, whole bunch pressed, wild yeast fermented, aged for 10 months in used French oak puncheons on yeast lees. Citrus blossom and peach are the evident aromatics.
Awards and Reviews
- 92/100 Points, Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
94/100 Points - Bob Campbell, MW: "Made from old Mendoza clone chardonnay vines that have been dry-farmed. A very textural chardonnay that's weighty and has concentrated peach, citrus, struck flint, savoury and toasty flavours supported by tangy and slightly green acidity. Rich and chewy as opposed to bright and pristine. A complex, stylish chardonnay. Drink 2018 to 2024."