There’s not much Pinot Meunier in the world, outside of Champagne, and even there it’s used in a supportive role, rarely as a straight varietal offering. The folks at Middle Earth, based out of Nelson, New Zealand, seem to have a knack for doing something special with this somewhat of an outlier varietal. They don’t make much but what they do is quite impressive, this is another attention grabber and a great follow up to the delicious 2020. Most Rose’s work in a pinch, but few have that extra dimension that sets them apart from the sea of Rose out there. Here you get something with an engaging flavor profile that takes Rose to the place where you can enjoy it on its own, having some authority to its flavor profile, but would be a perfect fit with salmon, poultry or pork. This shows a lot of diversity and would be a perfect fit for the warmer months in front of us. This is gushing with juicy watermelon and assorted red berry fruit flavors. What’s not to like about a Rose that has an engaging fruit base that makes you yearn for another glass?
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93 pts Bob Campbell MW July 2021
Charming and instantly appealing, the wine shows watermelon, nectarine, red apple and floral aromas on the nose, followed by an elegantly weighted palate that’s filled with bright fruit flavours backed by refreshing acidity. Deliciously styled. At its best now to 2023.
Mild winter temperatures resulted in a slightly earlier budburst for us on the Wai-Iti terraces for the start of the 2020-21 growing season. Spring was cool and unsettled through until early December, but we were spared damage from frosts that bit at the region in October. Flowering was less than ideal with prolonged wet and cool periods aecting most varieties. We were lucky a second time, experiencing no damage from the Boxing Day hail storm that brought isolated catastrophic damage to crops around the region. The flowering conditions also resulted in small berries, light bunches and ultimately reduced yields. January brought warmer weather and drying winds throughout February. These moderate conditions resulting in restrained sugars and the retention of bright, clean acidity. A suitably challenging season which has again delivered wonderful wines. Expect vibrancy, balance and concentration from our 2021 wines!
Proudly made from 100% Pinot Meunier, a red grape variety most noted for being one of the three main grapes used in the making of Champagne. The fruit for this wine was whisked from the vineyard pre-dawn on the 12th March 2021, well before the day warmed up. Once at the winery the fruit was quickly destemmed, transferred to the press, de-juiced directly and sent to tank for cold settling. Once well claried the juice was racked to another tank for ferment. The juice was inoculated with yeast – chosen for the ability to liberate a high concentration of fermentation esters.
The ensuing ferment was kept cool to maintain a civilized pace and preserve the glorious aromatics. As the residual sugar in the wine crept into the single digits a small portion of the wine was peeledt o to a smaller tank to undergo malolactic fermentation. e winery team began tasting daily, weighing up the two wines’ character where together there would be overall balance. Once a consensus was reached the wines were deeply chilled to arrest ferment. From there the two wines were recombined and the wine then moved quickly yet gently through the finishing steps for the first bottling of the year in early July 2021.
The Champenoise winemakers respect Meunier for its fresh acidity, moderate brix and low tannin levels. Furthermore, for the plush fruit character it brings to a wine. These characters lend it perfectly to a pure single variety Rose. e direct press method enables us to make a Rose ‘Provence Pink’ in colour, which is mouth filling, medium bodied and has a generous nose of wild berries and watermelon. The small potion of wine that has completed malolactic fermentation brings a lovely creaminess to the nose and smooth silk to the palate. The wine is teased out to a long clean finish by a fresh citrusy acidity.