2017 Charteris The Hunt Vineyard Riesling
This wine is a tribute to one of the quiet achievers of Central Otago grape growing and winemaking. Not so much a pioneer or innovator but a persistent and understated, ever dogged, grafter who had a clear vision. As the label suggests, the grapes for this wine come from the Hunt Vineyard, planted in 1997, tended and nurtured by Blair Hunt and his wife Estelle. The fact that they choose to plant the tiny 0.7 Hectare plot of Riesling at the base of a steep granite outcrop may have been because the soil was no good for Pinot Noir. But in doing so they created something absolutely unique. In all of my winemaking I have come across only a few patches of dirt that have such a consistent and distinct expression. The tone and volume of the site inevitably change year on year, but the music stays the same.
We lost Blair in the spring of 2016, just when these vines were in the middle of budburst. It was to be a low yielding vintage ahead, but in that, produced a wine of mesmerizing depth and intensity. I miss the old bugger, his distinctive sense of humour conveniently hiding a sharp and wise demeaner. This is our last wine from this vineyard, and I think it is kind of fitting that we go out on a high note.