2020 VINTAGE REPORT
"2020 it was marginally drier and warmer than 2019, resulting in an even more ideal ripening phase right through to harvest." - Michael Brajkovich MW
2019 – An exceptional Vintage of unsurpassed quality.
After another wet winter in 2019, Spring came
early, warm and dry. Flowering took place a week or two ahead of normal, and
the fruit set was very good. Apart from two wet days just before Christmas,
there was very little rain in December. January had virtually no rain, becoming
one of the driest months on record, and was followed by extreme drought
conditions throughout February and into the March harvest period. The only
significant rain in March fell after all the grapes had been picked
Temperatures during the
ripening period of January and February 2020 was mostly in the mid to
high-twenties, with a maximum of 30°C for one day in January. We normally
expect at least a day or two over 30°C, so this year conditions remained
relatively cool to warm, but very dry.
The early flowering in Spring
brought the harvest date forward by 7-10 days compared to normal. This, coupled
with warm dry ripening conditions, enabled the grapes to reach perfect
Our own Hawkes Bay vineyards
at Rays Road produced the best fruit we have seen yet from this unique site.
With new clonal plantings of Chardonnay in their first year of production, we
were able to blend some extra ripeness and richness with the fresh limestone
vibrancy of the existing vines. The result is an exciting Rays Road Chardonnay
showing white flowers and lemon on the nose, with vibrant acidity and tingly
oyster-shell minerality on the palate.
Similarly with the Rays Road
Pinot Noir plantings, we have the best yet from the 5 clones planted. Colours
were dense, but more importantly the fruit was ripe and redolent with berryfruit.
On the palate these wines have lovely chalky texture with a firm but supple
finish. Most of the Pinot Noir has gone into our Kumeu Village blend, aged only
in stainless steel to retain the youthful fruit. A selection of the very best
ferments, however, have gone into older oak barrels for maturation. This will
be released as Rays Road Pinot Noir, and the 2020 sets a new benchmark for our
wines from this vineyard.