Vintage 2014 - the view from the cellar, by Simon Nunns

The last tanks of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc completed ferment on 7 May. drawing vintage 2014 to a close. Here’s how it all panned out:

This year we harvested our Pinot Gris at the end of the first week of March. Auckland had a very settled summer and so the Pinot Gris is some of the best we have seen. It will soon appear in our multi-region Pinot Gris, which, given the season, will be delicious. Our Malbec and Merlot were managed for Rose production this year. They were picked in the 3rd and 4th weeks of March and the 2014 Rose looks great. This will appear on the market in Spring. We harvested the Montepulciano at the end of the first week of April. This is the earliest we have ever picked Montepulciano and the fruit looked great. This wine will appear towards the end of 2015. In summary, 2014 was very successful for our Kumeu vineyard and is a worthy successor to the strong 2013 vintage.

Gisborne had a superb harvest in 2014. There were concerns about Powdery Mildew but the threat was managed perfectly and the fruit was ultimately unaffected. There are some real highlights in Gisborne in 2014. Chardonnay, Albarino, Viognier and Arneis were all in top notch condition. In terms of ‘firsts’ we took our first crop of Vermentino and Lagrein this year. Both look great and it is likely we will be the first winery to produce these two wines in New Zealand. Vermentino will be on the market before too long, and Lagrein (a red grape) will be on the market next year. Another good vintage for Gisborne!

Hawkes Bay
Powdery Mildew was also a threat in Hawkes Bay, but again, with good vineyard management we avoided any issues. Everything performed strongly with the highlights being Viognier, Chardonnay and Syrah. There was rain at the end of vintage, but we were able to have everything picked before the heavens opened. The Viognier will be the first cab off the rank and will appear later this year. Chardonnay will likely be early 2015 and the reds will stay in barrel until around July 2015. With 2013 being so strong in Hawkes Bay, it looks like it’s two in a row for this fabulous region.

Marlborough was the trickiest region to manage this year. The Pinot Noir came off in March and was in great condition – possibly some of the best we have seen from these two vineyards. The Pinot Gris was another March harvest and looks great. The 2014 SV Pinot Gris will be on the market before too long. Riesling came off in the first week of April and looks superb. Again, an early-ish bottling is planned. We started on the Sauvignon Blanc in the last week of March and had it finished by the second week of April. It started raining at the end of the first week of April, so the last two blocks that we picked were slightly affected – no rot issues, but some dilution. The upside of all this is that we had more than enough harvested before the rain came down to cover our Coopers Creek brands – so all is well.

Overall, an early vintage of very good quality. Some parcels may be the best we have seen. There is plenty to be happy about and the team can be proud of their hard work and commitment.