Spoonbill Wine Tasting Notes
Spoonbill Wine is produced by Rawiri Vineyard Ltd, Marlborough, New Zealand. Rawiri Vineyard is owned by Dave Eatwell and his wife Chris, residents of Chesterfield, Missouri. Dave was born and raised in New Zealand however he has lived the majority of his life in the St Louis region, his wife Chris being from Webster Groves.
The vineyard is 5 hectares, (13 acres) with 2 acres of Pinot Gris and 10 acres of Pinot Noir, consisting of four different clones, 777, 667, 115 and Clone 5 (Pommard). Dave is the winemaker and heads down-under in the New Year to be ready for the vintage which normally starts at the end of March with the wine being in barrel by the end of April when he returns to St Louis.
The grapes are from the steep slopes of their Vineyard in the Southern Valleys of Marlborough. It is one of the very few hillside vineyards in the Marlborough region. Crop levels are monitored and along with leaf plucking, fruit is dropped normally twice to keep the vines in balance and not over crop. The Pinot Noir is cropped at between 5-7 tonnes per hectare (2-2.8 tons per acre) depending on the season.
Pinot Gris, Rawiri Vineyard:
Handpicked and then bunch sorted, the grapes are whole bunched pressed. The juice is then left for 2-3 days to settle before being racked into barrels and inoculated with cultured yeast. The barrels are kept at a cold temperature and the ferment is slow usually lasting 5-6 weeks. After ferment is complete, the wine is racked off the lees and then returned to the barrels with only the fine lees added back. The wine is then left in the barrels for 10 months before bottling.
2013 Pinot Gris:
The 2013 season was quite warm and the grapes ripe with higher sugar levels leaving the RS a little higher than normal. Only 4 barrels of this wine were made. The wine has hints of lemon chiffon and ginger play on the nose, while ripe pear explodes from the glass. The palate finishes with lemon, lime and orange citrus and vibrant acidity.
2014 Pinot Gris:
The 2014 season was cooler than 2013 thus the brix level was lower with higher acidity. The wine went completely dry with very low RS, thus giving us a dry and more acidic wine however with mouth feel and texture from the barrel ferment. Primary aromas of ripe pear with a splash of delicate meringue present itself in the glass. Fresh bright citrus accentuates the crisp acidity on the palate.
Pinot Noir Estate, Rawiri Vineyard:
Handpicked into 10kg bins, the grapes are taken to the winery where they are bunch sorted before going into the destemmer then the berries fall onto a second sorting table to be sorted before going into the fermentor, the berries staying whole and not being crushed. The must is then cold soaked for around 7 days with the juice being pumped over the cap twice a day. The fermentor is then warmed to start the indigenous yeast where the cap is punched down 2-3 times a day depending on the stage of the ferment. Fermentation lasts around 7 days when the wine is gently pumped out to a holding tank and the remaining berries are pressed to a maximum of 1 bar. The wine is then held in a tank for 2-3 days before being transferred to French oak barrels consisting of 25% new oak. The barrels are a mix of three forests, Troncais, Voges and Allier. The ferment is finished in the barrel and then malolactic fermentation starts. The wine is left in barrel for 10 months before being bottled in February the following year. Around 10 barrels are made each year.
2010 Pinot Noir Estate:
This wine is bright red with great clarity. Forest floor and earthy on the nose with hints of black cherry.
Strawberry fruit and ripe cherries on the palate with balanced acidity and a long finish. This wine is aging well and will improve with further age.
2011 Pinot Noir Estate:
2011 was an early vintage and the crop levels higher but with careful managing we dropped fruit in order to obtain the best fruit we could. This wine exhibits aromas of strawberry, cranberry, dark cherry and smoke. The palate reminiscent of wines of the Cote d’ Or, consisting of anise and virgin leather with rose petals on the finish.
Pinot Noir Reserve, Rawiri Vineyard:
Handpicked into 10kg bins, the very best grapes are kept aside for the Reserve, a maximum of 1 ½ tonnes. Of the four different clones, two thirds are a mixture of Clone 5 and 115 with the other third being clones 777 and 667, all clones being co fermented.
The process is the same as the Estate however new oak is 35%. Only 4 barrels of the Reserve are made each year.
2012 Pinot Noir Reserve:
The 2012 season was very cool and the vintage two weeks later than normal. With the cooler than usual temperatures, the flavors developed ahead of the sugars giving a lower alcohol percentage without sacrificing the flavors. This wine has Eucalyptus and orange zest on the nose, while dark cherry, cranberry and mocha play on the palette. The balance of oak and acidity result in a long lingering finish similar to the Cote de Or in Burgundy.