Autumn has arrived and sunny Nelson has been living up to its name. Glorious days, crisp blue skies and the first blush of autumn colours make Nelson a perfectly stunning place to live. In many of the vineyards, the harvest is now complete. The vines are turning a gorgeous shade of gold, transforming our rural landscapes into an artist’s dream.
Unfortunately, 2021 hasn’t exactly been a dream for grape growers. The weather continued to dole out mixed conditions during picking time, meaning that this year’s harvest had its ups and downs.
Some growers have been delighted with their beautiful, clean fruit. While the crop size may be down, they report that the quality of the fruit is superb. This year’s smaller berries, with their thicker than usual skins, have proved themselves quite robust and able to stand up to rain without too much splitting. Tastings have been outstanding for some varieties — the smaller berries really packing a punch and exhibiting intense fruity flavours.
Nevertheless, a bout of wet, humid weather a couple of weeks back drove disease pressures through the roof. This led to the early harvesting of some crops and fruit of mixed quality. With poor ‘fruit set’ at the beginning of the season, the overall crop is down over 30% on last year. That means that some grapes, most notably Sauvignon Blanc, are in very short supply.
So, while winemakers may be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of working with some of the season’s grapes, there will certainly be challenges. No doubt our talented winemakers will be able to work their magic and create some superb Nelson wines, just as they always do. As to how the overall vintage shapes up… Nobody wants to speak too soon. We’ll all have to wait and see.
In the meantime, there is still plenty of sunshine to enjoy a picnic or lunch on the verandah. The autumn weather seems the perfect match for crisp white wines, or maybe a glass of golden Chardonnay. Before our thoughts turn toward red wines and cosy fires, now is the perfect time to indulge in a glass of bubbles as we hold onto the last of the summer’s sparkle. Easter is such a wonderful opportunity to get together with family and friends and enjoy some special treats.
A real highlight for the Kahurangi team this month was the fabulous reception of our 2017 Blanc de Blancs. We are so proud that this complex beauty is getting rave reviews. Made in the same method as French champagne, from hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes, Blanc de Blancs is a wonderfully elegant wine and one of our favourites. ‘Dry, crisp, refreshing, salivating and tasty,’ said one Sommelier. ‘What’s not to like?’ It’s so rewarding when our wines win the appreciation of the experts. We strive to create quality wines and the great reviews show that all our hard work is paying off. It’s a real cause for celebration. And, of course, we know the perfect wine for that!
We always say that you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy a lovely glass of sparkling. Every day in our beautiful region is worth celebrating. What could be better sharing a bottle of great wine with good friends on an autumn afternoon? Perfection.