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Terroir

Wairarapa, New Zealand

The Wairarapa wine region, of which Gladstone is part of, is famous for its savoury and well structured Pinot Noirs that develop and age extremely well. Some of the environmental conditions for this would be seen as a problem in other regions but the Wairarapa winegrowers embrace them as they are what makes Wairarapa wines consistently great. The biggest influence from the Wairarapa we have is the wind - the prevailing wind is from the North West and can get close to gale force regularly, especially during spring and early summer. This wind during budburst and flowering naturally keep crop levels low, which maintain an intensity of flavour and texture with minimal fruit thinning required.

Other environmental conditions that make this region great are the warm and dry summers but with a large diurnal temperature variation with hot dry days but cool nights, these natural temperature rhythms stabilise colour and balance acidity whilst allowing for long ripening of flavours in balance with sugar development in the berry. Also, due to the conditions at flowering, the berry size tends to be on the smaller size, which results in better skin to juice ratio resulting in better more intense and well structured wines. Where the Wairarapa Pinots get their trademark savoury complexity is down to a mixture of optimal ripening conditions, soil profiles throughout the region and clonal makeup of the Pinot Noir vines throughout the region.


Dakins Road Vineyard (9 Hectares)

Dakins Road Vineyard (9ha) is placed on ancient river terraces of the Ruamahanga river that winds its way through the Wairarapa wine regions of Gladstone and Martinborough. It is made up of free draining alluvial soils and wind blown loess which promote the complex and layered characters of Wairarapa Wines along with its reduced vigour, which keeps the vines in balance to promote developed but not green or over ripe characters. 


The vineyard is planted in:

- Pinot Noir as the major variety with clones consisting of Abel and 10/5, which deliver power and structure along with dark bramble and mineral characteristics. 115, 777, clone 5, 667 and clone 13 make up the rest of the Pinot Noir to give layering and complexity with differing red dark fruit profiles and as well as floral and spicy highlights.

- Sauvignon Blanc, these vines display the Gladstone trait of riper pipfruit, stonefruit and subtropical fruits along with the savoury and floral highlights, which is a defining character of Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc.

- Viognier, on the edge of where Viognier can be grown as far as climate allows in New Zealand, but this transfers into a balanced Viognier, which is aromatic and intense on the nose but has some residual acidity that balances out the rich palate of Viognier.

- Cabernet Franc and Merlot, these two varieties make up the base of the Gladstone Vineyard Rosé. Cabernet Franc gives it its unmistakable savouriness and texture, whilst Merlot gives it its fresh mixed berry characters .


Blairpatrick Vineyard (2 Hectares)

Blairpatrick is on the same river terrace system as Dakins Road albeit on a slightly elevated terrace. This site is super free draining towards the terrace edge and slightly heavier at the edge further away from the terrace. This mixed vigour site is not irrigated, which means the roots have to delve deep into the soils to obtain water, providing the ability to show outstanding minerality and concentrated dark red characters.

The vineyard is planted in:

- Pinot Noir, With a mix of Dijon clones ( 777, 667, 13, 115) delivering an elegant mix of characters of typical Wairarapa Pinots, but inherently displaying balance due to its mixed vigour and no irrigation. It's slightly more exposed to the infamous Wairarapa Northwesters, which means it is naturally low cropping with minimal intervention needed to keep the crop levels in balance.

- Pinot Gris, again, with no irrigation these roots are deep into the alluvial soils meaning intense flavours shining through with a healthy dose of Terroir.


Carters Block (1 Hectare)

Carters is a non-irrigated block on slightly heavier soils being a mix of alluvial soils but with a clay layer trending towards slightly lighter and elegant wines.

The vineyard is planted in:
- Pinot Noir, All clone 5 but shows a restrained elegance and lighter characters than a typical clone 5 planted on free draining soils. 

- Sauvignon Blanc, The Sauvignon Blanc from this vineyard is the last Sauvignon to be picked. It shows a different flavour profile to the rest of the Gladstone Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, which makes it a valuable blending component to add layers and complexity to the overall Sauvignon Blanc blend.


Home Block (3 Hectares)

The Home Block vineyard is the site of the original plantings in Gladstone with the Sauvignon Blanc being over 30 years old - this vine age for Sauvignon Blanc is a rarity. The soils are alluvial in nature and are located in a sheltered area behind Tiffin hill, which provides some protection from the Northwest wind.

The vineyard has been farmed organically but at present we are taking a break from certified organics to take a more holistic approach to grape growing. The canopy is still managed with organic sprays during the season but we're now focussing on ways to balance the organic principles of soil health and biodiversity whilst also taking into consideration the carbon footprint of the vineyard. We are looking at establishing a cover crop under the vines which benefit soil health by creating a healthy environment for beneficial fungi but avoid the heavy carbon footprint of under row mowing or the practise of cultivating under row to keep competition from grasses in check.

The vineyard is planted in:

- Sauvignon Blanc, The old vine Sauvignon Blanc shows what Sauvignon Blanc vines are capable with age and deep roots, gone are the typical New Zealand Sauvignon characters and instead wines of poise, elegance and generosity show pipfruit and stonefruit but with the Natural Flinty minerality and beautiful floral prettiness that is hard to find in younger Sauvignon Blanc Vines.

- Riesling, The meyer lemon acidity that these vines produce is outstanding and adds a mouth watering juiciness to the typical Riesling characters. 

- Pinot Gris, A mix of 2 clones, these vines provide weight and texture and classic Pinot Gris characters, these vines are low vigour for pinot gris leaning towards more intense characters.

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