Dog Point Vineyard
James Healy and Ivan Sutherland will tell you that it’s hard for them to grow much Chardonnay at the extremely high quality level they want for this wine. As with their Section 94 and Pinot Noir, the wine is distinctive due to extraordinary vineyard holdings, intense vineyard management geared towards low yields and hand-picked fruit, and long, low touch winemaking. The effect this work has on the Chardonnay, by nature the least expressive of these three grape varieties, is wild – the wine is intensely expressive, with loads of fruit, leesy character, and chalky minerality that is almost textural. As with all the wines they produce, it is considered a national standard bearer of a different shade.
Dog Point has Chardonnay planted in part on clay and silty valley floor vineyards, and in part on surrounding clay loam vineyards. Two clones predominate, 75% Mendoza and 25% Clone 95, with some plantings dating back to 1981. Grapes are, as always, hand-picked (95% of New Zealand’s vineyards are machine harvested).
Dog Point operates under what is called the “Biogro” program, an initiative to promote the production of premium quality wine utilizing environmentally friendly and responsible practices, details of which are further down.
Hand picked and gently pressed straight to barrel (10% new) for eighteen months. No juice clarification with 100% wild primary and secondary fermentation. Bottled without fining and with only minimal filtration.
A warm growing season with very dry conditions between January and April with only 45mm falling (less than 30% of the average). A season which will be remembered for other reasons however, with calm decision making and patience were required. That patience resulted in perfect ripening conditions at the end the harvest, and the hand-harvested fruit required very little sorting. Over-all a very rewarding vintage — one of the best the region has experienced in recent years.
A ripe citrus spectrum of fruit is at the core of a complex chardonnay with spice, toasted nuts and gravelly, flint aromas. A pure and focused palate with a bright, crunchy structure and fine acidity. The complex barrel aged flavors also imparting textures that carry on the back of the fine acidity.
Certified Organic & Sustainable. All vineyards were converted to organic farming in 2009. 2,000 sheep graze and fertilize in winter; prunings are composted and spread; 25 steer also graze the property.
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - November 28, 2022 (Top 100 Wines of New Zealand 2022) "Inviting aromas of flint, matchstick, grated nutmeg, dried lemon rind and sliced grapefruit. Medium-bodied with silky texture. Fresh and bright fruit turns more savory with herbs and spice coming to the forefront. Layered. Tannic, tight finish." -J.S 11/22
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Dog Point’s renown as a Sauvignon Blanc producers has done nothing to lessen the enthusiasm around their Pinot Noir, today considered one of the finest in New Zealand. What sets their wine apart is the generosity of the structure, which comes off as rich but not sweet, and the complex mingling of fruit and savory notes.
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