April has been vintage month at Retiro Park Lodge. This year we have had a wonderful season with visitors at the bed and breakfast, but a challenging grape growing season in the Nelson region and at our small vineyard in Teal Valley. A rather cool and wet spring has meant a smaller crop of grapes, although of a very good quality and the mild summer has prolonged the ripening season until we could finally start vintage on the 18th of April.
We picked our Pinot Gris on the 18th of April with a Potential Alcohol (PA) of 12.4% V/V, whole bunch pressed it on the same day, cold settle it overnight, inoculate it the following day and after a week nicely fermenting we already had by the 29th of April a beautiful sketch of what will be our ‘Teal Valley Vineyard’ 2012 Pinot Gris. The wine is well balanced and has a clear fruity nose dominated by the traditional pear notes common to the variety and a long dry fresh palate.
On Saturday the 21st of April we picked the Chardonnay and after a similar process to that described for our Pinot Gris it was fermented on stainless steel on the presence of american oak. (PA 12%V/V) The Chardonnay is currently undergoing malolactic fermentation, which will add some buttery character to the traditional peach notes and mineral profile of our ‘Teal Valley Vineyard’ Chardonnay.
Finally on Monday the 21st of April we picked destemmed and crushed our first Pinot Noir ever at Retiro Park Lodge. The fermentation in stainless steel with the presence of French oak has been successful and the wine is also undergoing malolactic fermentation. This is our most cherished and wanted ‘baby’ and so far is showing promise. It is a well-integrated, balanced and elegant wine, with characters of red fruit and some pleasant earthy notes
After a whole year of hard work our efforts have been rewarded and we hope to enjoy these wines with our friends and visitors to the lodge once they are in the bottle by the end of the winter.