The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

New Giesen vintages showcase Marlborough

There are some surprises among the latest vintages from Giesen’s Estate wines. Hitting the shelves now are: Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Giesen Estate Pinot Gris 2017 and Giesen Estate Riesling 2016.

Mother nature threw in some challenges through the 2016/2017 growing season – a major earthquake, a cool, windy summer and some autumn rain. While this meant vintage 2017 delivered a smaller than predicted harvest, reduced fruit volume ensured a balanced crop, with some pleasant surprises.

Giesen Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Giesen has been making Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since its first vintage in 1984. This experience, combined with its ownership of 13 premium Marlborough vineyards strategically acquired throughout the length and breadth of the highly sought after Wairau Valley, means they have a range of grape growing conditions and flavour to use when crafting Estate wines.

Fruit for the 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc came from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Wairau Valley adds brightness, tropical and citrus flavour and acidity. With its higher elevation, the Awatere Valley is slightly cooler, drier and windier meaning fruit from here adds fullness, richness and dry herb notes.

Harvest stretched over three weeks from 22 March to maximise sugar ripeness. As soon as it arrived in the winery, fruit was de-stemmed and gently pressed. Selected yeasts were added to start fermentation which took approximately three weeks.

Giesen Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George expects wine lovers will be pleasantly surprised – as he was – by the aromatic intensity of the 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. “We made this vintage the same way we do every year and while it retains all the hallmarks of Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc it has boosted aromatics and a refined palate.”

Giesen Estate Pinot Gris 2017

Fruit was chosen from three regions; Marlborough, Waipara and Hawke’s Bay to maximise intensity and flavour. With most of the fruit from Marlborough, Giesen was rewarded following its difficult decision to drop significant crop over the growing period, which ensured ripening and flavour.

Each parcel of fruit was pressed immediately after harvest before fermentation in stainless at temperatures 12-15C. The wine was held on lees for a further two months before blending.

Just like the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, St Georg says the Pinot Gris has lovely aromatics. Giesen Estate Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 entices with fresh nectarine, peach and red apple it has a touch of creaminess and subtle spice leading to a lively, off-dry finish. As the weather cools this Pinot Gris would be perfect with a spinach and feta tart.

Giesen Estate Riesling 2016

Giesen has a Riesling pedigree. Founders Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen drew upon their German heritage to create Estate Riesling which they have made since 1984. Giesen Estate Riesling is a favourite with Kiwis, being the country’s highest selling Riesling by value and volume.

Fruit from cool-climate vineyards throughout Marlborough and Waipara was pressed before 36 hours settling and fermentation in vineyard batches. Ferments were stopped when the characteristic Giesen Riesling acid, sugar, alcohol balance was achieved.

Nikolai says the 2016 season was more moderate than the previous vintage and this is reflected in the wine. While its clearly in the Giesen Estate Riesling style that people love and expect it has gentle, lifted aromas.