Great wines have a basis of fruit concentration, length and sense of place – characters which can be formed only in the vineyard.
To a certain extent the winery crew see they work as guardians of fruit, leaving the tool box to one side and simply letting the wine “be.”
Winemaker Todd Stevens explains….
“We have an exceptional site here at Neudorf and it demands little from us in the winery. If we can guide grapes into wine of integrity, without buggering it up, we are content”
“We maybe see ourselves more as wine growers than wine makers. After all we are only one link in a chain … in order to make great wine, we must grow exceptional grapes. Within this we accept the idiosyncrasies of site, season and person … and celebrate them. Ultimately this means we should stand back and do very little until the fledgling wine reveals the right path.
This requires a watchful eye, a deft touch, a certain amount of faith and acceptance of variation. I am not sure of the term that best describes this philosophy - perhaps “non-interventionalist”. The process is fluid, not recipe bound and in some years, it will require a different thought process “
Todd and assistant winemaker Simon McQuire see themselves as part of a team, tasked to grow grapes which express the site, to take the essence of that fruit and then preserve it as wine. On the way, they may fine tune the balance and complexity in a number of ways but the aim is always to allow the site to speak.
In working this close to nature there will sometimes be heartache and occasionally celebration; each year there is new promise, but always there is the excitement of discovery.
In the winery we concentrate on texture, balance and, for certain wines, complexity. Finesse is always a priority. The range of Pinot clones on the Moutere site produces a palate of complex fruit flavours in the savoury dark-fruit spectrum. We like the natural charm of the fruit to be in balance with the tannins.
Our Chardonnay is largely proscribed by the terroir and the high extract / high acid Mendoza clone. The texture and complexity of lees contact helps to balance this taut package.
Sauvignon Blanc has such generous fruit character we are happy to trade some of this to expose the wine’s texture and vinosity. A little barrel ferment adds complexity and gives weight and mouthfeel.
Pinot Gris is treated to the same low cropping regime as its darker cousin, with the Moutere grapes partially barrel fermented to support their characteristic density and texture. Riesling exhibits delicious lime crispness while Albariño is our newest addition to the stable – brisk, briny and mineral – it is a promising variety for Neudorf.