Margaret and Mike Hanson – The Elder Pinot
The Wellington region experienced some of the worst flooding in decades, and was essentially cut off from the rest of the country for several hours. Nigel and Bridgit Elder, and Mike and Margaret Hanson had scheduled their mail order client tasting in town to release their new 2014 Pinot Gris and 2013 Pinot Noir. In case the event was cancelled due to the weather, I called Nigel. He was stranded out in Petone, and would not be part of it, but Mike and Margaret were already in the city, having arranged to spend the night there. The show had to go on! When we arrived at the venue, very much on time, there was already a good crowd present. Clearly, The Elder Pinot has a strong following who will brave any weather to enjoy the wine!
Margaret and Mike recounted their journey, one of learning about viticulture and winemaking, friendship with industry people and their customers, and the growth of their business from their first release from the 2010 vintage. The development continues, with the theme of sustainability on the property and with power and energy. This release represented yet another step, with the new 2014 Pinot Gris deemed to show even more minerality, and the 2013 Pinot Noir from an outstanding year. The mail order clientele will be pleased with their purchases. Here I give you my impressions of the wines, both of which I have tasted earlier. It was a good opportunity of seeing how they may have changed over recent months. www.theelderpinot.co.nz
The Elder Martinborough Pinot Gris 2014
Straw-yellow colour with slight golden hues. This has aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits and lifted yellow florals, showing good depth, revealing flinty minerals from the lees work. Quite dry to taste and with good body, weight and presence, the flavours of stonefruits are a little restrained initially, building in concentration forming a rounded core with some alcohol drive. The mouthfeel has an unctuous quality and the wine flows with good freshness and energy with slippery acidity carrying the wine through to a flinty, minerally finish. Restrained and stylish, the gentle flow and balance is a highlight. On this showing, the firmer phenolics have softened beautifully. Lincoln Berrysmith clone fruit from the ‘Hanson’ vineyard, hand-picked, WBP and tank fermented to 13.4% alc. and <2 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months in seasoned French oak barriques on lees. 17.5/20 May 2015 RRP $42.00
The Elder Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013
Dark, deep ruby-red colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is fresh with vibrant primary black berry and dark raspberry berry fruits, lifted with dark red and violet florals, unfolding subtle savoury herbal complexities in the glass. A little pepper and earthiness emerges with breathing. Medium-full bodied, the fruit is deeply packed, but opens to show lusciously sweet and plush dark red berry and black cherry flavours. Lifted floral and herbal layers add aromatic detail. Some savoury complexities add to the interest. Supple, ripe tannins provide a smooth, satin-like flow, but the extraction lends good body and depth which leads to a strong, dry finish with ripe dark fruit flavours. Pleasingly, this is more primary on this showing, and the ripeness has resulted in a finer mouthfeel. This will develop well over the next 7-9+ years. Clones 5, 115, Abel, 667 and 114 from the ‘Hanson’ vineyard, hand-picked, destemmed, given a cold soak and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 22 days on skins and aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. 18.5/20 May 2015 RRP $62.00