Although we normally pick our Chardonnay with good fruit and acid balance, (13.0 Beaume; 3.3 pH and 7.5g/l acid) oxidation is an ever present threat, and because whites are usually ripe a couple of weeks ahead of reds, the weather is likely to be a bit warmer. We cool the whole bunch, hand-picked fruit down to 5C and add 15 ppm sulfur to each tonne of grapes during the picking and refrigeration and whole bunch pressing process. At press, sulfur levels are again monitored to provide around 5 ppm free as the fruit is whole bunch pressed into refrigerated and de-oxygenated settling tanks. Some short skin contact of around 1 hour while the fruit is in the press also occurs during this process, although this is kept to a minimum.. After analysis, adjustment, and up to 48 hours of cool settling, the partially clarified juice is racked away from the remaining lees which are re-settled and the final lees are discarded into the home vineyard..The partially clear juice is then transferred to the refrigerated barrel cellar where each new French oak hogshead is waiting for fermentation. The juice is now moderately clear and its temperature is gradually raised to about 14 degrees in preparation for a 5% inoculation with a vigorously fermenting neutral yeast. Prisse de Mousse, a Champagne yeast which can operate at moderately cold temperatures is our preferred inoculation although we do let a few barrels rip with natural yeasts in the Schubert portion of the ferment. With Chardonnay from a warm vintage, sometimes about 30% is fermented carefully to dryness in stainless steel, and the balance is transferred to new French oak for a traditional treatment ‚Äúsur-lie.‚Äù Even after a gentle malo-lactic fermentation, Bloodwood Chardonnay always reflects the character of the grape before the influence of the maturation process, and we find that this combination of methods allows for greater subtlety in oak treatment and better palate balance in the finished wine. After oak maturation for about 12 months during which the wine is kept in contact with its fine lees without unnecessary stirring, it is once again transferred to stainless steel for final assemblage, adjustment and cold stabilization before sterile filtration and bottling on site. Our Bloodwood Chardonnay is usually ready for release in the second Spring after harvest and can mature happily for quite some time. Currently, given the vagaries of corks, the 1992 version is still simply delicious.
Meteorological Matrix blog
Bloodwood wines are made entirely from grapes grown on our Griffin Road Vineyards, Orange. Although each vintage in this cool area presents its own natural challenges our aim is to produce wines which are of a consistent high quality and which are identifiably Bloodwood in style. During the processing and maturation of each wine, every effort is made to ensure that the innate Regional characteristics of the fruit are protected. To this end, sulfur additions are kept to a necessary minimum and great care is taken to protect each wine from unnecessary oxidation and handling. Pinot Noir of course, is still a pain!