COUNTRY/REGION: New Zealand/Hawkes Bay.
GRAPES: 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 30% Malbec.
This Winemakers Reserve blend is widely regarded as one of the finest of New Zealand's red wines. Since the initial 1990 vintage, this is the first Cabernet-based vintage reflecting the nature of the season and our desire to produce the finest wine possible. Deeply coloured, showcasing black cherry, fruitcake, tobacco and subtle oak spice, this is a dry and complex and age-worthy wine.
VINEYARDS: This wine is a blend of grapes grown in the stony soils of the Gimblett Gravels. The vines in the Cornerstone and nearby Ngakirikiri and Twyford Gravels vineyards were planted in 1990, 1994 and 2002 respectively and cropped at low levels to produce grapes of the highest possible quality. Intensive viticultural practices such as shoot thinning, leaf plucking and bunch thinning were employed over the course of the growing season to further maximise the vineyard's potential.
VINTAGE: The Spring saw cool conditions and lower than average rainfall, however despite changeable weather around flowering it was generally successful with good fruitset. Shoot & bunch thinning was carried out as needed in select vineyards and overall the health of the vines was excellent, resulting in a highly satisfactory harvest.
WINEMAKING: The individual vineyard parcels were harvested separately and destemmed to our original 1930s concrete fermenters for fermentation. Indigenous and selected yeast cultures were employed and once active, the ferments were gently hand plunged 4 times daily. After a period of post-fermentation maceration, the ferments were pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged in French oak barriques of which 40% were new, for 17 months before blending and bottling unfined and unfiltered in December 2017.