Spade Oak 2013 Petit Manseng and Late Harvest Viognier

06-Jun-2014
Steve and Eileen Voysey of Spade Oak are at the forefront of the Gisborne vignoble comeback. Three decades ago, the region was this country’s largest winegrowing region, but the rise of Sauvignon Blanc has seen Gisborne relegated to fourth place behind Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago in acreage. Now we are seeing Gisborne as the home of the small artisanal producer leading in trialling innovative varieties. Viognier, Gruner Veltliner and Albarino, have all become far more prominent, with the likes of Petit Manseng emerging, especially through the work of Gisborne growers and winemakers.

In January this year, I spent some time with the Voyseys at Spade Oak and tasted a number of tank and barrel samples of wine from the superb 2013 vintage, including Petit Manseng and a sweet Viognier. (Click here to read my report.) Their Petit Manseng is a variety from the Jurancon, different to Gros Manseng which is also planted in the region. Steve Voysey reports it is "unique, never seeing another variety like it”. The Voyseys have one row of 188 vines covering 0.1 ha, but planted another two rows this year. 2013 was the third crop, the small-berried bunches looking like molecular structures in chemistry, attaining high brix without botrytis or dehydration while retaining high acidity and low pH.

For 2013, their intention was to make a Noble Viognier in the style of the outstanding 2009 (click here to see my review). However, the season, while ample in sunshine experienced no rain, so a late harvest style was made. The wine was made from 6 rows of fruit, totalling 0.4 ha, left to hang on the vine. Here, I review the Petit Manseng and Late Harvest Viognier, made as sweet wines, both bottled in 375 ml format. www.spadeoak.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Spade Oak ‘Vigneron’ Gisborne Petit Manseng 2013
  • Spade Oak ‘Vigneron’ Gisborne Late Harvest Viognier 2013

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