"Our thoughts on cellaring and when best to drink our wines....

Our wines are, generally, surprisingly approachable and enjoyable on release. This is not as a result of winemaking intention, but the consequence of producing what we believe is the finest expression and style for our region and vineyards. It just so happens that this also produces wines that are charming and accessible in their youth.

We are not alone in this, as it is now, true for many of the fine wines being made around the world. Including wines from the world’s classic wine regions. Traditionally, there was always a requirement and expectation that fine, age-worthy wines were not touched for some years (in some instances many) from release. Significant global advances in recent years (say 20-30) in viticulture and winemaking, combined with more benign growing season conditions from climate change, have resulted in most wines being noticeably more enjoyable in their youth. These wines still have every capacity to age as previously, it’s just that the firmer, harder edged characters that required cellaring to develop, soften and eventually become more approachable, are simply not present (or to the same degree) in the young fine wines being produced today.

With careful cellaring our wines will lose their youthful freshness after a few years from the vintage and develop increased complexity. We usually see the first signs of secondary characters developing from about 4-5 years old and tertiary characters at twice that age.

From our experience to date, we have every expectation that our Pinot Noirs will still be drinking very well at 15-20 years of age. Some will continue to age gracefully beyond this, but whether they become a better proposition is a highly individual judgement. We all have different preferences for what we believe constitutes a grand wine at the pinnacle of its life. We believe there is a sweet spot drinking window at around years 4 to 10 from the vintage date. The wine has aged past the youthful fruitiness and has the beginning of more complex secondary characters while still retaining sufficient primary fruit and florals that makes great Pinot Noir so attractive. However, as our vine age has increased to properly mature vine status, we have not yet had the chance to see if that window is rather longer than previously. This may well be so and while it won’t change that overall pattern, the timeline may stretch somewhat.

The age-ability of our Chardonnays has been most surprising. With the cool climate in Bannockburn and high level of natural acidity, combined with the style of winemaking, 10-15 years is still only mid-life for our Chardonnays. The ageing curve is very graceful with increasing complexity after 10 or more years since the vintage. Again, the wines lose their youthful fruitiness and take on added nuance with time in bottle. We learned from observing the ageing of our unoaked Chardonnays against our oaked version that the unoaked developed a more pleasing complexity with age. For a little over a decade now we have pulled new oak almost to zero, in fact to complete zero in single block Chardonnays.  This captures the greater complexity while keeping the positive nuance of an organic container for elevage. Like our Pinots, some early vintages are not to our taste however that is not a factor of ageing but of what we would now view as poor harvest and winemaking decisions. ‘Premox’ is a much-discussed scourge in Chardonnay. We can honestly say that we have never seen it in screw-capped examples of our Chardonnays. Failure rate in cork closed early vintages is distressingly high.

Our Rieslings seem almost immortal. Some of the very early vintages are becoming fully developed at 20-25 years old.  However these wines were from very young vines and young minds, with the first few vintages suffering cork closures. Older vines with increased viticultural and winemaking experience, along with the high acidity in our Rieslings makes them very stable and age worthy.

The one caveat to all this is cellaring conditions. Very few of us have the luxury of a constant temperature, proper cellar. In a perfect world, holding our wines at a constant 13C would be ideal but a constant temperature is more important than the actual figure, so long as that figure is still cool. With screwcap, humidity is not an issue. For those who use air-conditioning to hold a cellar to temperature, most domestic heat pumps only go to 15-16C. That would be fine. Wine fridges are also a sound solution, though, as with heat pumps, there is an obvious energy issue." 

Please choose a vintage to view the vintage summary. To view tasting notes and reviews on each wine select the vintage, then the grape variety then the wine.