Sherwood Pinot Noir 2019
Blackberries, plum, cherry fruit on nose, with added complexity of coffee and cedar from oak barrel aging on palate. Finishes with soft tannins.
Dayne and Jill Sherwood are pioneers in the small Waipara Valley appellation of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s hard to believe that NZ only began growing and producing Pinot Noir in the early 80’s, and that the Sherwood’s were among the first to do so. Says Dayne, “Our concept was to produce a different style of wine from Marlborough. A Sauvignon Blanc that resembled the famous wines of Sancerre and Pinot Noir that was akin to wines from the Cote de Beaune.” Now with more than 30 vintages under their belt, the Sherwood’s have a wonderful head start on the rest of the industry, and are enjoying the benefit of working with mature vineyards – something that good quality Pinot demands. This region produces a style of pinot that is more masculine and has fantastic structure – as opposed to the more fruity style of up north in Marlborough. Still, making good Pinot requires growing good fruit and it’s in this area that the Sherwood’s spare no expense. They are as fastidious as you could possibly imagine, when it comes to caring about their vineyards – and it shows in the wines. Sherwood’s vineyards are meticulously managed. This is very important in a true cool climate wine region like the Waipara Valley, to maximize heat units needed for ripening, while minimizing the amount of sugar in each berry, to maintain the important balance of alcohol to flavor. Throughout the season, each individual vine is visited 10-15 times – shoot thinning, leaf plucking, cane pruning, re-trellising, etc. Once the fruit is harvested, the vineyard team hands over to the winery team. Hand plunged fermentations in small open top tanks is the norm. Fruit is left to ferment on on its own, using wild indigenous yeast, then hand plunged daily for 3 weeks. Then it is gassed and sealed, and left in contact with the skins for another 3 weeks. The juice and skins are then bucketed out by hand, meaning continuing the technique of only gravity moving the juice up to this point meaning no harsh augers or pumps “beating” the juice up causing hard harsh tannins to be extracted. Juice is racked to barrel – a select assortment of barrel types and coopers are used. Each week every barrel is tasted and topped up and a record kept of its development. Finally the barrels that make the grade are blended together and bottling occurs.