Closely planted in 2000/2001, the Quest Farm Pinot noir contains a mixture of clones (Abel, 115, 667, 777, 6, 114, 5, 10/5 and 113).
Mark Mason (winemaker): "My benchmark Quest Farm wine, showcasing the site first, then vintage.
There is a particular signature that is expressed in this wine that has taken 10 years to unlock and highlight. Firstly, these vines are some of the highest in Central (250-350m). Harvest is a week later than the norm, but counter-balanced because of the steep north-facing slopes, averaging close to 20 degrees. This gives abundant reflective light. Consequently, we modify the tannin management and only hand-plunge once a day and manage closely the tannin pick-up when the ferment finishes.
Up to 30% whole bunch depending on the stem lignification. Small open tanks. Only wild yeasts used to ferment which takes about a week to kick in. Because of the high percentage of whole bunches, the ferment can take up to three weeks to finish. Warm ferment at 32C and a little longer on skins - up to 10 days. Pressed with lite lees into a mix of new (12%) including larger format, and second/third fill.. 11 months in barrel. Racked and lightly filtered in June.
The hidden component I found through the various vintages is a pretty aromatic lift that builds for the first five years of development, holds, and then shows a Bush Honey layer adding a tactile sweet middle palate when the tannins plateau.
This aromatic profile I believe comes from the flowering Briars (wild roses brought onto the farm area by the gold miners). They flower at the same time as the Pinot Noir, and over the last 100 years have added to the soil profile by increasing the organic matter when they lose their foliage each year. I separate each block when clearing each of the seventeen blocks by the colour and smell of the soil. No other vineyard I know in Central or NZ has this significant trait. My goal/quest is to let it shine through in a sea of conformity."
Alc 13.3% TA 5.9,pH 3.7 Dry