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Vineyards

Considerable research by Stewart Elms (hence the Elm tree logo) in 1991 identified the north facing slopes at the end of Felton Road, Bannockburn as being one of the warmest and most ideal sites in Central Otago for the growing and production of premium wine. Heat summation data and soil maps of the area, developed as a result of the construction of the Clyde dam, were helpful in this decision. The three different soils identified are free draining with low fertility characteristics, and combined with the unique climate, are ideal for the production of premium quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

 

Our vineyards are managed by our own viticulturist, Gareth King, and his team of dedicated staff. Meticulous summer management of a single vertical shoot positioned (VSP) canopy ensures even and early fruit maturity. Shoot thinning, shoot positioning, leaf plucking and bunch thinning are all carried out by hand as required to ensure optimum quality fruit. We have inter-row planting of various different cover crops in order to assist in controlling vine vigour, improve soil health and general biodiversity.

Mulch is also used in drier parts of the vineyard to help retain moisture, minimise the requirement for irrigation, and to balance areas of lighter more free draining soils. Organic compost is made utilising the winery waste, and organic cow manure and straw.

 

Since 2002 the vineyards have been managed organically and biodynamically, and in 2010 all three vineyards were awarded full Demeter certification. Pruning is carried out to leave desired bud numbers thus ensuring moderate controllable yields and to create an even, light penetrable canopy. Irrigation is usually necessary during the later dry summer months. Soil moisture levels are carefully monitored and water is applied only when necessary to maintain appropriate soil moisture levels. All grapes are carefully hand picked, keeping separate any quality differences within blocks due to clones, rootstocks and viticultural trials.

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Winemaking

Biodynamic agriculture was suggested by the German philosopher, Rudolph Steiner, in the 1920's: it forms the next step beyond conventional organics (which are a pre-requisite to Biodynamics) and starts, in essence, with a simple idea:

If we view a farm as a single, symbiotic living organism, then the more vigorous and complex that organism is, the richer the growing medium it provides for everything within the farm. Anything reared upon the farm, living on it, or working upon it similarly becomes an inseparable part of this biodynamic system. The object of Biodynamics is to maximise the living energy within this system in order to make it self-sustaining and of the highest quality. In order to maximise the living energy within our soils, Biodynamic composts are made which form the foundation of this growing regime.

 

The composts are treated with a series of preparations, each one of which sounds rather like a Harry Potter potion (for example preparation 502 is made from Yarrow flowers fermented in a stag's bladder), but they are simply a series of ferments, each one of which creates a very rich and diverse bacterial soup targeted to work with particular elements of the compost. Together they form a potent microbial brew which stimulates  he breakdown of organic matter and creates very complex and potent compost. Through this we build a huge biodiversity at the most basic level of our soils. In addition, work in the vines is carried out in accordance with a Biodynamic calendar that advises on the right days, dependant on lunar and astrological movement, to perform each task. Again, while the idea that the planets or stars might affect the vines may seem odd (though today it is generally accepted that the lunar cycle does have significant effects in all aspects of nature) there has been extensive research growing the same seeds in phase with the calendar against control groups with random schedules, and in almost every trial the calendar seeds grow with greater health and vigour. Lastly, Biodynamics requires a strong ethical link to guardianship of the land by every member of the team who work the land and manage it. We try to use our land not simply to be sustainable, but also to maximise the biodiversity it supports.  

 

We plant cover crops and wild flowers within the vineyard itself. Our hillsides behind the vines are home to a herd of goats, which keep the briar at bay while supplying meat for the table. Within the vineyard we keep a flock of chickens that forage among the vines, repay them with natural manure and supply delicious, organic eggs.

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Inside information

Why put something used on Coca-Cola on to fine wine?

The Screwcap on a wine bottle isn’t the same as those used for other food and drink: it has been specially developed for protecting fine wine over an extended aging period in the bottle. Specifically, the part in contact with the wine, (made from a thin Teflon film covering pure tin) is designed to stay stable and flavour neutral for decades.

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8 different wines with 30 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Penfolds Bin 144 Yattarna 2018 / Launched in 1998 with the 1995 vintage, Yattarna is the result of one of the most comprehensive, focused and highly publicised wine development projects ever conducted in Australia. The aspiration and independence of mind across generations of Penfolds winemakers inspired the ambition to create a white wine that would set the standard for ultra-fine Australian Chardonnay, a sortof 'White Grange'. They aim to source and select only the very best Chardonnay fruit from cool-climate regions, in this case Tasmania, Tumbarumba, Adelaide Hills. The name Yattarna is drawn from local indigenous language, meaning ‘little by little, gradually’. Acidity 7.3 g/l, pH 3.12. Aged for eight months in French oak barriques (60% new). All three regions enjoyed a relatively wet winter and spring, setting the vines up with healthy soil moisture profiles for the ensuing growing season. Tasmania experienced clear and generally warm conditions from January onwards, with no extreme heat spells leading into harvest. The temperature breached 35 °C only once in January, resulting in optimal conditions for ripening. Tumbarumba had plentiful rainfall right up to December, when a dry spell set in. In February, temperatures were generally cool allowing for slow, consistent ripening. The Adelaide Hills fruit set was slightly above average. The region experienced a warm finish to the growing season, but well-developed canopies shielded the fruit from adversity and ensured the berries ripened evenly. Harvest was an orderly affair across the three regions. 



Fine, complex, really rather burgundian nose and great crystalline fruit and grip without austerity. The acidity level is really quite high compared with many other Chardonnays. Pretty smart. You would be very happy with this if labelled Puligny-Montrachet actually. Good stuff and it should have a long life but could be broached already.

8d 5h ago

 Thomas Girgensohn, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Guigal La Mouline is always the more feminine wine of the three, and this is true for the 2015 La Mouline. The grapes come from 100 year old vines with very low yields. This Shiraz includes 10% Viognier, and the wine is matured for two years in new oak. There is no whole bunch included. This wine without doubt was the wine of the night. Fragrant, opulent, fresh, elegant, velvety, pure, silky, spicy; this comes to mind rather than any fruit descriptors. This full-bodied wine has incredible length and stays with you for some time (98 points). 

6m 13d ago

 Felton Road  has updated producer and wine information

4y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“Penfolds Bin 7 Coonawarra Cabernet Kalimna Shiraz 1967 - Fine-looking bottle. Level was by the neck. Decanted one hour. Good, healthy dark colour. Gorgeous nose: delicate, fat and sweet. Fabulous strong Cabernet-grip on the palate, with super-ripe cassis, lots of spices, coffee and cedar pushing through. Ripe and rich. The follow-through is soft and elegant with sweet, ripe tannins and enough acidity. Peaking now and will no longer improve.”

4y 9m ago

 Jasmin Foster / Sommelier, Pro (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  23 wines 

“Torbreck's RunRig is the estate's flagship wine, made from extremely old vines from eight separate premium Barossa plots.

The RunRig 1996 combines the sheer fruit intensity of some of the finest Shiraz vines of the Barossa with European elegance - the small percentage of Viognier adding real vitality - and hence the best of both worlds.

Torbreck is named after a forest in Scotland where winemaker David Powell once worked as a lumberjack.

5y 1m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  11 wines 

“What a surprising tasting as Romanée-Conti 2010 was a shadow in a complete DRC line-up of 2010s. Corton, La Tâche and Richebourg made it to podium, La Tâche being the jewel of the bunch! ”

6y 7m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  12 wines 

“Restaurant Tower opening tasting in Ylläs, Lapland. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock'n'roll! Now, Ramonet Puligny 2011 turned out to be the best in the show.”

7y 4m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  5 wines 

“Veal Carpaccio served with season veggies and ginger-soy-beefstock on the bowl. Next to it two glasses of whites: Georges Pollet Puligny-Montrachet 1971 vs Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Le Moine Moenchberg Pinot Gris 2007. Puligny a clear winner! Second course:Baby lamb chops grilled with herbs and served with feta-sundried tomato cousous. Next to this Felton Road Bannonrock Pinot Noir 2011 and Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot 2001. Felton Road Pinot charmed us more.Dessert:Creme Brulee ice cream with straberries and blueberries. Next to it was Burkheimer Schlossgarten Spätburgunder Weissherbst Beerenauslese 1971 vs Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux 2003. Bonnezeaux a clear winner! And thebBest wine of the eve!!”

7y 8m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  14 wines  from  Felton Road . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“Felton Road pinots – sweet spots for any Burgundy lover! If I should name one New World Pinot Noir that can challenge great Burgundians, it has to be Felton Road. Thanks to winemaker, or as he call him self care taker, Blair Walter for setting a benchmark for New World pinots!”

7y 9m ago

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