The Rocky Knoll is a small block at Amisfield Vineyard whose soil differs greatly from the areas around it. It consists mainly of glacial deposits left by the retreat of the giant Wanaka glacier some 680 million years ago. Planted with 100% Dijon clones, from the first vintage in 2003 we realised that this parcel was something unique.
Having such great grapes to work with gave us the latitude to use some interesting traditional winemaking techniques. Firstly the fruit was sorted into different batches by clone and site. In some cases the clones were kept separate and in others we co-fermented to encourage early integration & complexity.
The north face was fermented in large wooden barrels with about 30% whole clusters in order to accentuate the spicy aromatics found in fruit grown on these soils. The remainder was de-stemmed to tank and wild fermented with a smaller proportion of whole bunches. Whole bunch fermentation is powerful magic which must be used conservatively as it has a profound impact on the wine. We use them to add aromatic complexity and extend the fine grained tannins through the palate. Some ferments were allowed to sit on skins for 45 days to allow the very mature fruit tannins to integrate and add dimension to an already extraordinary wine. These parcels were then matured for 15 months in 44% new tight grained Burgundian coopered barriques prior to blending & bottling in October 2007.
At bottling the wine has great depth of color and an aroma of dark fruit, spicy oak and savoury complexity from extended lees contact. The palate is reassuringly tight with masses of sweet ripe fruit underlaid by a wealth of well integrated, silky tannins. This is a wine made to develop in the bottle and will reward many years of careful cellaring. Please decant before serving.
Wine & SpiritsThis is the second time Amisfield separated out its Rocky Knoll Vineyard block, a glacial deposit of large, heat retaining stones that mostly faces south (the first RKV was from 2002, which was also the first crop from these young vines). Part of the wine was barrel fermented with some whole clusters; part tank fermented with native yeast. The result is intriguing, with textural nuance and dark, mineral tannins invested in the equally dark raspberry fruit. It has a natural feel, a rusticity to match braised tripe or other hearty fare.