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1999 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay
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- Closure: Cork
Notes sourced from Cloudy Bay.
Grapes were harvested from six estate and grower vineyards located in the Wairau Valley of Marlborough. Soils vary from the silty gravels found in Rapaura to the fine silty loams of Renwick and the Brancott Valley. The vineyards are planted at a density of 1,850 vines per hectare and all vines are trained to the Scott Henry trellis system. The average yield in 1999 was 7.5 tonnes per hectare.
1999 was a warm, modestly yielding vintage that produced some excellent fruit. A warm autumn in 1998 resulted in a relatively high percentage of fruitful buds emerging in the spring, but periods of cold, wet weather over flowering resulted in poor berry set and a slight reduction in crop. Generally dry conditions persisted throughout the summer and intermittent rains from January through until April maintained the vines in excellent condition.
The chardonnay harvest commenced late in March and continued according to vineyard ripeness until the second week of April. The weather was generally settled throughout this period and all fruit arrived at the winery in excellent condition.
The majority of grapes were harvested at night (to preserve fruit flavour), transported directly to the winery, and destemmed into tank presses. After pressing, the juice was settled then racked after a 24-hour period. A portion of the juice was inoculated with a pure strain of yeast; the remainder being allowed to ferment using indigenous yeast strains existing in the vineyard and winery. All batches were fermented in French oak barrels, 20 percent of which were new, and sixty percent of the wine went through a malolactic fermentation. All components were blended after one full year in barrel and remained on yeast lees for a further six months prior to bottling in November 2000. Final analysis shows an alcohol of 14.0v/v, pH 3.38 and acid of 6.7g/l.
Winemakers Notes:The 1999 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay exudes rich aromas of melon and grapefruit together with soft, spicy notes from barrel fermentation and ageing. The palate is full bodied and textural, showing ripe citrus flavours, complemented by nutty, yeasty characters, finishing with a flinty, mineral edge. Delicious drinking at release, this chardonnay will repay cellaring for two to four years.