Seriously good future Chardonnay
As mentioned in my last blog we are in the process of planting a special little vineyard at Blacksnake Road, Granton. Overlooking the stunning Derwent River, this new vineyard, as the crow flies, is located two kilometres south of our mother-vineyard at Rowbottoms Road Granton.
The plot is 4ha in total, nestled in amongst 1ha of rural living properties. It was purchased in 2021, chosen for its soil type, elevation and aspect but, most importantly, for its suitability to grow Chardonnay.
The soil, or terroir, is black clay over a mealy chalky base. The site slopes to the North and is on a 15 degrees gradient at 120 metres above sea level. The soil type is typically heavier than that of our mother vineyard’s, so increased density will benefit balance.
High-density plantings grow vines that have higher leaf to fruit ratio than normal vineyards. The root system is pushed deeper rather than wider and shoots grow higher to exploit the sunshine. The ultimate outcome is fruit with greater depth and concentration of flavour.
Our Blacksnake Road vineyard has a vine density is 6173/ha, 1.8 metre rows and by 0.9 metres between the vines. This new vineyard will have 28% more vines than our existing chardonnay blocks. The clones are a selection of 95, Penfolds and Gin Gin. At our home vineyard we have been growing these clones for decades, and they are the star performers amongst their cohorts.
Paul Sloan of Small Vines Wines Ca USA says it best in this YouTube video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB0vZKFPJBo
Paul’s vineyard is planted in a warmer region than our properties. However in this YouTube clip he discusses new world viticulture versus old world, and the impact spacing (vine density) has on sugar and acid accumulation at a lower alcohol.
Elegance, drinkability and complexity are highly prized in chardonnay wines. Not always easy to achieve. Low yields, a truly cool climate, chalky soils and modern vineyard equipment are amongst some of the most important elements in generating success. After 30 years of experience and proven research and development we are determined to plant the ultimate chardonnay vineyard. This is where tried clones, site selection and vineyard setup ensures the future outcome of our new Chardonnay vineyard will be very exciting.