Thanks to the Fresh Choice Nelson wine expert, Neil Hodgson for sharing his thoughts on vintage 2018 in this week’s blog.
Each year wine grape growers have to deal with the vagaries of the weather gods, some years they are very kind, and some years not so much! Across New Zealand, grape growers dealt with a huge range of weather conditions in 2018, but no other region had to deal with the challenges experienced in Nelson.
After a stunning early start to vintage 2018, (where the only challenge was early drought conditions), and beautiful long hot days during summer with the occasional spell of rain to help the grapes grow, the real challenge started at harvest time.
If there is one time of year that grape growers don’t want rain, it’s during harvest. So, with a huge cyclone weather event just before vintage started, and another a week or so into vintage (harvest), the pressure was on for both grape growers and winemakers.
The timing of the rain meant that all the grapes in the region were harvested in a very tight couple of weeks, and earlier than normal. The great ripening conditions over summer meant the grapes were in perfect condition for early harvest, so when the rains arrived picking happened at a frantic pace and this put a lot of pressure on winemakers.
The producers who invested a lot of time managing their vineyards through the weather events managed to harvest some beautiful fruit. But, for some growers, despite the effort they had made, some of the fruit was so badly damaged they didn’t bother picking it. Better to leave it to rot on the vine than make poor wine and compromise the quality of your brand.
I have tasted some beautiful Nelson wines from vintage 2018. One of note is the Blackenbrook Wine’s, Sauvignon Blanc. It is packed with classic sauvignon blanc flavours and is remarkably clean and bright considering the vintage conditions.
Don’t forget to head along to Fresh Choice Nelson to discover your favourites from vintage 2018.