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Matthew Ward
1 June 2021 | Matthew Ward

Vintage Report 2021

2021 is moving along quickly and although the new vintage wines have been resting in tank and barrel for about 6 weeks now it feels like we were picking only yesterday. It’s a nice time to reflect on vintage and the season that’s been, just as we look at blending our first Sauvignon Blanc; the wines are settled and looking “themselves” now.

This vintage felt somewhat uneventful – in a good way, as it definitely had its nuances compared to other vintages over the last decade. Marlborough’s central Wairau Valley had very low yields due to multiple factors – three dry summers in a row, early September frosts and cool, wet weather during flowering seem to have had a compounding effect. Though Marlborough appears small, the southern valleys and western Wairau valley were mostly unaffected by the weather as they tend to flower later than the central valley. A testament to this is our Sound of White vineyard in the Waihopai Valley, which gave us slightly more fruit than 2020 (much to our fastidious vineyard manager, Fraser Brown’s delight!). The weather was perfect apart from a low that brought much needed rain towards the end of picking at the beginning of April. With light canopies and low disease pressure it was possible to hang the last fruit through this and it came into the winery looking stunning.

Harvest was earlier than usual, by about 7 – 10 days than 2020 for some blocks, which relates back to the lower yields and warm, dry summer. Quality across the board is excellent with the wines showing a touch less restraint compared to 2020.

It’s also an exciting time for me as our first Catalina Sounds Chardonnay from the beautiful 2020 vintage is set to touch down on the palates of wine lovers in Australia and New Zealand in July. I’ve truly loved these vintages for Chardonnay, as they’ve really allowed a minimal intervention approach with clean, ripe fruit and lashings of juicy minerality. Nothing added and nothing taken away, just as wine should be.


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