Auntsfield Estate produces Chardonnay with finesse, restraint, honed focus and a textured mineral structure. The distinctive characteristics of ripeness, texture and minerality – qualities unique to the ancient Greywacke rock and Loess clay soils found on the property – are certainly apparent. Only the best fruit is hand-picked and hand-sorted into small picking bins where fermentation naturally starts in the vineyard. 2018 was really summed up best as season of rain…rain at normal times, but literally raining every one of those times. This has been unusual of the past decade when rain may hit ‘most’ of the cycles. Summer was warm and very dry initially but as the season progressed, the rain came. Challenging conditions forced the work in the vineyard around reducing yields and keeping the canopies open and dry. This allowed the fruit to ripen in cooler temperatures of early autumn, promoting a more even ripeness than usual. It was definitely a vintage made in the vineyard and with low cropping, produced really outstanding fruit.
The fruit for this wine was hand harvested and whole bunch pressed, allowing clean and intensely flavored juice to be pressed from the grape. The juice was fermented in French oak barriques, with a combination of indigenous and cultured yeast, followed by extended barrel ageing on yeast lees. The lees were stirred up in cask for the first few weeks and then the wine was left to age quietly for 15 months in total. The barrels were gently racked to tank and bottled without fining and only a light filtration and a hit of sulfur.