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-5-https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/grape-vine-training-methods-illustration/In the last 5-8 years Matt has really focused on getting a little more vibrancy and finesse, the tannins finer and a little less firm. He experiments with small parcels every year, with whole bunch from 100 per cent down to zero. With the introduction of whole bunch he has reduced the length of skin contact, mostly after the fermentation when there is alcohol present, reducing the firmer seed tannins. He settled on about one-third whole bunch in the last few years, and that works really well for our site. ◆ Chardonnay――Chardonnay has probably been through one of the biggest evolutions in when we harvest fruit and what we do in the cellar. We use 100 per cent Mendoza clone (Gingin in Australia), you get a lot of motley hen and chicken bunches, but very concentrated fruit. All our Chardonnay is 35-year old ungrafted vines, and unfortunately they are the lowest cropping variety in our vineyard. The Chardonnay used to be much bigger, fatter, riper with more oak and malo, but over the last 10+ years Matt has been aiming for a very full-bodied wine reflecting the fruit we get, but more focused and much tighter with flinty, mineral notes, a little bit of reduction to accentuate things. We pick the fruit a little earlier than before, with a slower 100 per cent natural fermentation on full solids, and don’t clarify the juice. It is then aged in 500-liter puncheons, with about 30 per cent in barrels, so there is less oak influence. We have pulled back on malolactic fermentation to around 50 per cent. The Virtuoso is a selection of a handful of barrels, which has an extra year in the barrel before bottling.◆ White and Red Bordeaux blends――When Dad planted Pegasus Bay his mantra was that he wanted to plant wines with texture and length on the palate that were first of all food wines. At the time a lot of people were making Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand and advised against a Semillon blend because people wouldn’t understand what it is. But he wanted length and texture so we went off in a different direction from the start, and it has been a point of difference ever since. For our Sauvignon Blanc we make 6 to 8 different components, with different levels of skin contact, brightness or clones. Over the last 2-3 years Matt has experimented with skin contact with the Sauvignon which is giving more texture with ripe phenolics. The Semillon gets 10 months in barrels, and is aged on lees as well for the whole time. We also make a late harvest straight Semillon or straight Sauvignon or blended Semillon Sauvignon Botrytis, barrel-aged style. People are pleasantly surprised by the level of ripeness we are able to achieve with our red Bordeaux blend. It’s a Merlot dominant blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. We have Scott Henry trellising in that part of the vineyard to get the canopy open, do a lot of leaf plucking right through the fruiting season for sunlight exposure, and then do a green harvest on veraison when we cut off at least a third of the crop to ensure even ripening on a smaller crop. Our dry autumns means we can leave the fruit on the vine longer to ripen. It spends two years in barrels, then another year in the bottle before release, the Maestro spends two years in the bottle before release.◆ How do you maintain such high quality over time?―― One is being a family business, so we don’ have shareholders telling us what to do. Dad’s vision has always been to make high quality wines, it has never been about money. Mum and Dad set up the winery out of their passion for wine, and that has been the driving force of what we do. As the Marketing Manager I never say to Matt here’s an opportunity for a particular wine style. We try to make the best quality wines that we can and the wines we believe in from our vineyard, and I find a home for them. Being family owned, we have 8 family members working in the business ‒ so 8 people treating the business like it’s their own because it is. So there is a high level of dedication there. Another factor is constant experimentation, and blending is very important. Matt is one of those winemakers who is never happy, he always wants to do better. Everything we do under the Pegasus Bay label is single vineyard, and we make a lot of small components for every variety. It is extra work keeping things separate all the way through, but our winery is filled with lots of small tanks with variable capacity lids on them, and it gives us so many more options when it comes to blending. This allows us to taste, blend and make decisions such as whether we make a reserve wine in any particular year. We only make those decisions just before bottling because we want to make sure we are happy enough with the Estate wine.Pegasus BayBel Canto Dry Riesling 2017(screw cap)Origin: Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, New ZealandVarietal: RieslingAlc. 15.3% Residual sugar 5.18g/LRRP ¥4,800The nose shows an abundance of citrus, especially orange zest, together with aromas of apricot, ginger and spice. The long hang time and botrytis inuence create a rich and full-bodied palate, with ripe phenolics adding structure and length, balanced by refreshing acidity and a dry nish.Pegasus BayPrima Donna Pinot Noir 2013(screw cap)Origin: Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, New ZealandVarietal: 100% Pinot NoirAlc. 14.4%RRP ¥12,000Top cuvée made only in the best years from a single vineyard planted when the vineyard was established. Aromas and avours of black cherries, purple plums, wild blackberries and mulberries, and game and mushroom notes. 96 points, jamessuckling.com.CODE10656CODE11064To counter new coronavirus, the New Zealand government implemented the world's strictest lockdown measures on March 26, Level 4, which stopped all economic activity other than the minimum necessary for daily life. However, agriculture and food production including wine were exempt, so the harvest continued as normal, while practising social distancing.At the time of this interview, New Zealand was in the second week of lockdown, which was relaxed to Level 2 on May 14. Implementing special measures in the winery may delay some processes, but the harvest and shipments from the winery have continued smoothly. Even better, 2020 is shaping up to be an excellent vintage.《Postscript 》Main Divide Wines: Main Divide was started in 1994 as an outlet for the fruit that didn’t go into Pegasus Bay (rst vintage 1991), with additional fruit brought from growers throughout the South Island. About 10 years ago the family planted the Main Divide Vineyard on land in the Waipara Valley with a similar soil prole and further inland from the Pegasus Bay estate. It is supplemented by fruit from quality growers in North Canterbury.For wine information, please see www.village-cellars.co.jp.

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