Hawkesbridge Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2017
A SHINING STAR IN A CHALLENGING YEAR
Winemaker Jo Gear says the 2017 vintage “was the most challenging harvest I have worked in 16 years. It was cold, rainy and there was huge disease pressure.” Add to that unusual logistic challenges and it’s fair to say it was a vintage that challenged at all levels. However, difficult vintages can also bring out the best in people and in a vineyard, as winemakers and viticulturalists dig deep and stay vigilant to deliver the best result possible. Heather and Milton Staples are the growers for the Hawkesbridge chardonnay. The Rapaura vines are now 25 years old and, with the roots deep into the soils, they are better able to defend against the unusual elements, within reason of course. Gear began working with the vineyard in 2006 and over time has relaxed more on the winemaking front as the resulting juice always performs very well. “Chardonnay is such a clever thing. It loves to be challenged and rises to the occasion to embrace the good. She is also generous and forgiving, so we winemakers love her unconditionally,” says Gear. The Hawkesbridge is naturally fermented and once put to barrel the next additions are time and patience. “I love this wine for its quintessential chardonnay character. It has all the hallmarks of the variety and sits so comfortably with all its inputs that nothing dominates,” adds Gear.