Highlights from the 2014 show and review season included - Mount Riley Estate Range: Sauvignon Blanc gold & 91 points San Francisco International Wine Show, Riesling gold Marlborough Wine Show, Pinot Gris & Pinot Noir 5 stars & Best Value Wine NZ Magazine. Mount Riley Limited Release: Sauvignon Blanc & The Bonnie Pinot Noir Rose both received 94 points from Bob Campbell MW. Mount Riley 17 Valley: Sauvignon Blanc 4 ½ stars Michael Cooper, Chardonnay 4 stars Cuisine magazine & Pinot Noir 95 points and 2nd Marlborough Pinot Noir Bob Campbell MW. Metro magazine recently announced its top 100 wines for winter this month and three of our wines featured - The Bonnie Rose 2014, 17 Valley Pinot Noir 2013 and Mount Riley Gewurztraminer 2014 which was also named in the top 10 best value. Click on the relevant wine in the “our wines” section of our website then expand the “awards” option for full details of the results for each of our current vintage wines.
Another vintage under the bridge and another extraordinary growing season has kept us all on our toes and imagining what an ‘average’ season may look like. The season started unremarkably enough – cool spring temperatures kept vine growth in check although bunch numbers were pointing to a larger than average crop. The cool temperatures carried through to late spring/early summer and as a result fruit set was on the low side and resultant yields were somewhat moderate. Although cool, we hadn’t seen significant rain since June and we went on to experience the driest spring/summer in 80 years of record keeping in the district. This put our Viticultural team under a fair bit of pressure and they spent countless hours ensuring our vines weren’t going too thirsty. Summer temperatures were very warm and we experienced settled weather right through summer and autumn. Flavour development on the vine was early and at low sugar levels and the benefit of having all our own harvesting equipment was once again a massive asset, as we were able to jump on in and take advantage of the great flavours on offer. The moderate alcohols coupled with ripe flavour profiles means I believe the wines will drink really well, with the trademark freshness we’re renowned for. Cheers, Matt.
Our fleecy friends
During winter our vineyard managers double as stock managers, grazing sheep in our vineyards rather than mowing to minimise tractor and fuel usage. With the 2015 harvest drawing to a close we've welcomed Kaikoura sheep into our winery vineyard. The sheep are loving the feed that's come on after a bit of rain but winery dog Pipi is not so sure they're welcome after coming off second best in a rumble with an electric fence. Don't worry Pipi bounced back (quite literally!) after doing the rounds of the lunchrooms of a few local businesses to heal her wounded pride. Regardless of Pipi's reservations we feel pretty good about doing our bit for the environment.
We said farewell to most our 2015 harvest crew (pictured above) back in May but Tim and Desislava (top right) are still working with us, with Tim replacing Richard in the cellar and Desislava hoping to take on Lydie’s role in the lab when Lydie heads off on maternity leave later in the year. We also said goodbye to Natalie, our winery administrator last week, and welcome Shannon to our winery crew.
We were thrilled to appoint Skurnik Wines as our New York importer in 2014. Mount Riley has been absent from the US market for a number of years and we’re looking forward to working together with the family owned and operated Skurnik team. The Skurnik’s began importing our Sauvignon Blanc in 2014 and added our Pinot Noir to their portfolio in 2015. The introduction of our Sauvignon Blanc has gone well with the 2014 making it into the Old Ebbit Grill Oyster Riot and receiving 91 points and a gold medal from the San Francisco International Wine Awards.