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2021 Merlot

Oyster Bay
Hawke's Bay Merlot

Bright cherry aromas and rich plum, with subtle spice and a soft, lingering texture.

The philosophy of Oyster Bay is to produce fine, distinctively regional wines that are elegant and assertive with glorious fruit flavours. The Hawke’s Bay wine region is arguably the most exciting find in recent times for the cultivation of Merlot in New Zealand.

Ancient alluvial river terraces provide for a superb mix of soils over gravelly, free-draining subsoils, with an abundance of pure river water or irrigation. With a temperate maritime climate, the vines are warmed by strong clear sunlight during the day and cooled at night by the sea breezes of the Pacific Ocean. This is the unique environment in which Merlot produces its vibrant, fully-ripened varietal flavours. Essentially, Oyster Bay Merlot is about elegance and intensity of fruit. The hero is always freshness of ripe fruit, spice and soft tannins on the palate.

New Zealand is blessed with two natural attributes that enable it to produce Super Premium wines unlike anywhere else: a maritime cool climate and alluvial soils.

New Zealand’s position in the Pacific Ocean provides a unique, temperate maritime climate. The benefit of a cool climate with long sunshine hours is an extended growing season with a long, slow period of ripening. This allows the well ripened grapes to develop strong, intense varietal characteristics whilst maintaining a balanced, crisp, natural acidity. Over thousands of years the continual process of mountain building and erosion by glaciers, floods and wind, has deposited alluvial soils on the riverbeds and terraces throughout much of New Zealand. These are the soils in which the vines of New Zealand’s renowned wine regions grow unique, quality grapes.

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Hawke's Bay Growing Region

The Hawke’s Bay region, located on the East Coast of the North Island, is one of New Zealand’s warmest grape-growing climates. As a micro-climate the Gimblett Gravels sub region experiences warmer air temperatures throughout the summer growing season than other viticultural localities of the Hawke’s Bay. The accumulated heat and day/night temperature differences, together with the free draining, gravel soils, deliver the dense fruit flavour and more structured tannins of our Merlot wines.

Soil Type

Omahu stony gravels and Red Metal soils. Fertile alluvial deposits over gravelly subsoils with low water holding capacity.

Clonal / Rootstock Selection

Bordeaux clone 181: A recently introduced (1992) Super Premium clone selection producing moderate yields of small berries and medium-sized clusters, displaying intense flavour profiles and lowered acidity levels.

Oak Selection

The Bordeaux style, tight-grained barriques were air-seasoned for a minimum of two years, imparting subtle, toasty, smoky characters, spicy complexity and structural tannin for enhanced mouth-feel and concentration.

Winemaking Techniques

The fruit was destemmed, crushed and transferred into stainless steel fermentation tanks. The must was inoculated with pure yeast cultures to enhance varietal aromatics and fruit characters. Tailored cap management techniques were performed during fermentation to obtain delicate fruit tannins and maximise flavour and colour extraction. Following gentle pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tank and in French oak barriques. A large portion of the blend was then aged in French oak barriques for 11 months to impart softness and complexity to the wine.

Sustainable Winegrowing

As a founding member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, we are conscious of our environment and we work hard to identify sensitive areas such as wetlands, streams and native vegetation to ensure that our vineyard practices do not affect the plants and animals that inhabit these areas. We minimise our water usage through our state-of-the-art soil moisture probe technology. We look after our soils by having interrow ground cover plantings, and by spreading our mulch underneath our vines, to provide a botanically diverse ground which encourages beneficial insects into our vineyards.

Hawke's Bay Wine Region

2021 Hawke’s Bay Growing Season:

Excellent fruit from an extraordinary vintage, delivering some of the most intensive varietal flavours of recent years.

Vineyard Locations: Gimblett Road and Crownthorpe Terraces
Vine age: 3 - 20 years
Harvest Date: 30 March – 15 April 2021

Maturity Analysis at Harvest (weighted average)

Brix: 24.0
Titratable Acidity: 5.6g/L
pH: 3.6

Wine Analysis

Alcohol: 14% v/v
Residual Sugar: Nil
Titratable Acidity: 5g/L
pH: 3.6

Download 2021 Merlot PDF

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