Since Kirk commissioned his on-site winery in time for the 2015 vintage, winemaking has suddenly become a lot easier and much less of a logistical issue. He has halved the amount of Riesling in the ground to 2 ha, and is still considering what to plant in its place. His customers say Chardonnay, and his heart says Gewurztraminer, as he loves it despite the difficulties in growing it, getting a decent crop, and selling it! However, increasing Syrah might be a good call, due to the demand for the variety when made in Waipara. I’ve suggested if he is looking at an emerging variety, then Albarino may be the one, as his neighbours over the road at Terrace Edge have done.
The 2017 growing season was indeed a difficult one, with the rains in the latter part of that period. His early season whites look “awesome”, but the Riesling also held its integrity to result in a very good wine. In the winery, there is a ‘Reserve’ style Syrah in the works. From the excellent 2016 vintage, Kirk held back 10 barrels from 30 to give the wine extended oaking and time to grow more complex. It will be one to look forward to.
His first 2017 release is the ‘Terasses” Rosé. Made from a parcel of Syrah grown and picked for the style, rather than saignee, he’s pretty pleased with it. The earlier picking of the grapes meant it came in, in the condition he wanted, rather than be dictated by the impending rain. I was impressed with the 2016 (click here to see my review), and the 2017 is a great follow-on. Pale in colour, the aromatics show strawberry, quince and cranberry, with some refreshing and positive herb notes. On the palate bone dry (2.0 g/L RS), with a taut and concentrated linear drive. There’s delicate fruitiness, with thirst-quenching acidity, along with fine, dry phenolics. Kirk isn’t aiming for the Provencal style, but just making a wine he likes to drink. However, it would look good in a line-up of southern French rosé wines. It sells at RRP $22.00.
Kirk will be sending his new release wines for full review soon. Look out for them. www.georgesroadwines.co.nz