Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.
Most of the grapes for this wine are from the Selection Ovaille and Mission clones grown at Wrekin Terrace Vineyard in the Brancott Valley, a valley floor site on gravelly clay-loam soils typical of the Southern Valleys. A smaller parcel of the Entav 52 clone (known for its small bunch and berry size) was grown at Riverbrook Vineyard in Rapaura, in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of greywacke river stones. The vineyards are trained on a two-cane VSP trellis and crop thinning is carried out to target a modest yield of 7.5 tonnes per hectare.
The season began in timely fashion and settled conditions during December allowed for a generous crop to set. Extremely low rainfall during the early summer put pressure on water supplies, but rain in early January broke the drought and vineyards flourished as temperatures started to climb above average. Considerable thinning was carried out across all varieties to establish ideal cropping levels. Harvest started in mid-March, and in late March northerly airstreams brought rains which put pressure on the harvest and led to remedial canopy and crop management being needed in many vineyards. Temperatures remained well above average and Marlborough’s classic Indian summer made a welcome appearance allowing vineyards to achieve full ripeness.
The three clones were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and whole-bunch pressed using very low maceration press cycles. The resulting juice was cold-settled then racked to fermentation vessels. Most of the juice was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in old French oak barriques and the balance was fermented in stainless steel tanks using cultured yeast. Towards the end of fermentation all the wine was transferred to stainless steel tanks where the fermentations were stopped, retaining 10 g/l residual sugar. The wine then spent a year on lees (seven months in old barrels and the remaining time in tanks) prior to blending and bottling in April 2017.
An exotic Middle-Eastern mélange of poached quinces, sticky dates and figs, laced with vanilla bean, cardamom and hints of black liquorice. This is a ripe, opulent expression of the Pinot Gris grape in a voluptuous off-dry style, that has considerable concentration and a long, luscious finish.