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1998 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir
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- Closure: Cork
Notes sourced from Cloudy Bay.
Grapes for the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 1998 were grown in the Dog Point and Godfrey Road vineyards situated in the lower Brancott and Fairhall sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Soils are even and typically free draining with varying amounts of clay, which require irrigation in dry seasons. All vines are trained to the Scott Henry trellis system and a combination of shoot positioning and bunch thinning resulted in a crop of just under 7 tonnes per hectare.
A warm, dry but relatively windy spring resulted in an average crop set, but the consequence of very dry conditions throughout the summer and into autumn was smaller berry weight and a crop reduction of up to 25%. Fruit condition was extremely good and all vineyards achieved a high degree of physiological ripeness. 1470 average growing degree-days were recorded in the central Wairau Valley making 1998 the warmest year on record in Marlborough.
Three clones of pinot noir were used to make the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 1998. Each clone was pickedaccording to maturity with the harvest beginning on 25th March and finishing on March 30th. Fruit condition was excellent averaging 24.4° Brix, pH 3.48 and 6.7g/l acid. All fruit was destemmed into open topped stainless steel fermentation tanks with the retention of 10% stems. After an average of five days cold soaking on skins the fermentations started using indigenous yeasts. Following a short vigorous ferment (32°C max.) employing twice daily pigéage, the wines were drained and lightly pressed, the free run and pressings were then combined. The wine was transferred directly into French oak barrels, of which 45% were new. Malolactic fermentation started in barrel in late spring and was finished by Christmas. Following a further period of oak maturation, the individual batches were blended in May of 1999. After a light fining, using fresh egg whites to assist clarity, the 1998 Pinot Noir was bottled late in June 1999. The final wine comprises 58% UCD5 (Pommard), 13% UCD6 and 29% AM10/5 with an alcohol of 13.9%v/v, a pH of 3.54 and acid of 5.9g/l.
A hot dry vintage producing very ripe fruit of excellent quality. Exotic aromas of cherry and dark plum mingle with spicy nuances in this concentrated pinot noir. Savoury flavours lead into a full palate that exudes sweet, ripe fruit. A wine with fine balance and a lingering finish rounded by soft, silky tannins.