Most of the activity for Matakana winegrowers this month occurs in the winery. By May we have harvested, put away the nets, tidied up the vineyard and are patiently waiting for the vines to shut down for winter pruning. In the winery, however, we are still quite busy. As well as completing this year’s primary ferments, the Matakana winemakers will be finishing the previous vintage wines that have been in barrel. These wines compete for tank space with the new vintage and create a real juggling act for the winemaker until they are bottled in a few months’ time.
At this stage, we are getting the first real impression of just how the 2015 vintage is shaping up. It has been a long and drawn out harvest compared to previous years but the wines we are seeing in the winery are all looking pretty good. These wines, particularly the red wines, are certainly shaping up to be the more elegant style that will benefit from a few years in the bottle.
This begs the question of just how long should you cellar Matakana wine for? I think there is two parts to this question – how long should we wait before drinking the wine and, how long will the wine last in the cellar and still drink well?
I came across two extreme examples of cellaring recently at the Raise A Glass Rotary wine auction. Herons Flight had donated a bottle of their 1991 cabernet sauvignon. David Hoskins observed that he had tasted a bottle recently and that the wine had done extremely well for its 25 years of cellaring, but he recommended that the purchaser should drink it this
Recognising that most wine in New Zealand is consumed within 72 hours of its purchase, many Matakana winegrowers maintain a range of wines that are drinking well at their cellar door. This means that you may find multiple vintages of a wine available and that you should take the opportunity to taste these mini-vertical tastings when you visit. It will give you a sneak preview of how the wine may develop should you decide to cellar it