Will 2013 produce the best New Zealand wines?
Posted by Michaelcooper on May 28th, 2013
The grapes are all harvested and around the country, the crushers and presses have been washed down for the year. The fermenting grape-juice is bubbling away in tanks and barrels and it won’t be long before the first tasting notes and wine reviews start trickling in. What can we expect from the much-hyped 2013 vintage?
Put simply, some of the best New Zealand wines ever. New Zealand was certainly due for a good one. Thanks to an Indian summer, 2010 yielded wines of a generally high standard, but 2011 and 2012 were both mixed bags in terms of quality, showing marked regional variation.
This year, the weather in spring and summer proved notably sunny and dry, especially in the North Island. ‘The warm, dry summer of 2013 has been absolutely perfect for growing and ripening grapes,’ enthused New Zealand Winegrowers.
The exceptional weather wore on into autumn. For the first time anyone could recall, by mid March the entire North Island was officially suffering from drought. However, soon after the drought began to relax its grip and by mid April it was largely over. In several regions, the weekend of 20–21 April brought torrential rain.
Comparing 2013 with 2012, John Clarke, deputy chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, was highly enthusiastic. ‘Grapes are coming off in pristine condition, with great flavour,’ he declared in mid March. ‘It’s gone from one extreme to the other. Last year we had no summer, it rained, it was humid.’
In Marlborough, where two-thirds of the vines are planted, the prospects are for exciting wines. Above-average rainfall in January averted drought, and clear skies at night meant 2013, despite a procession of warm, sunny days, was not a hot growing season. During spring and summer, the average temperature in the region was 15.3°C, barely above the long-term average of 15.1°C.
Fromm Winery, in Marlborough, believes 2013 ‘could be the best vintage we’ve ever done. All the elements are there. We’ve had hot days and cool nights, which helped the fruit retain its acidity. We’ve had enough rain when it was needed, but it’s been dry enough so there is no disease pressure [to pick].’
Winemakers in the second-largest region, Hawke's Bay, are also fired up. ‘13 looks like it may be a lucky number for Hawke's Bay,’ enthused Chris Scott. The senior winemaker at Church Road reported ‘a near-perfect growing season’ and ‘some of the nicest hand-harvested chardonnay fruit we have ever seen…’ Trinity Hill reported ‘highlights in particular are chardonnay and syrah.’
It’s still early days, but you can look forward to some terrific New Zealand wines, a lot of positive tasting notes and reviews, and some great wine buys from 2013.
About the Author:
Michael Cooper is New Zealand’s most acclaimed wine writer, with 37 books and several major literary awards to his credit. In the 2004 New Year Honours, he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to wine writing. His annual Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines is New Zealand's biggest-selling wine book. This buyer's guide provides thousands of New Zealand wine reviews. It also provides information about the key grapes/wine producing regions and wine tasting notes of New Zealand.
About the AuthorMichaelcooper
Joined: May 28th, 2013
Articles Posted: 1
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