The Delta farm, first established in 1848, was purchased in 2000 by four partners, is now owned by one of the original four partners Neal Ibbotson of Saint Clair Family Estate. Their specialisation in Pinot Noir sets Delta apart from the crowd in Marlborough. Lying on the West Coast highway, the 30 hectare Delta Vineyard is planted with the best new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and can be divided into two areas. The flatter part, closer to the road, produces approachable, younger drinking wines bottled under the 'Delta' label, whereas the best fruit from the hillsides that rise to around 175 metres produces the reserve style 'Hatter's Hill'. The low vigour clay soils, combined with the elevation of the vineyard, the warm days, the excellent quality of the light, the cool nights and the constant breeze, make this site ideal for the production of top quality Pinot Noir.
This is a 30 hectare vineyard in Marlborough of which 25% is on the 'flats' while 75% is on hills that rise to about 175 metres. Yields are about six tonnes per hectare. The soil is clay and vines are trained on vertical shoot positioning, which maximises the sun exposure reaching the vines' canopy and provides the vine with optimum ripening conditions.
This vintage saw one of the best fruit sets Marlborough has seen in recent years across all varieties. The growing season was warmer than average with an extended dry period up until late January. Some light rain in late February alleviated any water stress, extending the flavour development period. The ideal growing season continued, with very settled autumnal weather keeping disease levels low, to make 2015/2016 a perfect growing season.
Fruit was hand-harvested in small batches then destemmed, but not crushed, and moved into small open-top fermenters. Most of the fruit was then crushed with 10% whole bunches retained to gve the wine structure and tannic complexity. After a five-day cold-soak, fermentation took place with frequent hand-plunging. After fermentation, 15% of the tanks were left on skins for an extra week before pressing to stabilise the colour and improve the structure. After settling, 50% of the wine was racked into new and seasoned French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and ageing. The wine was blended and bottled after ten months.
The wine is deep ruby red with a rich, concentrated nose of dark berries and ripe plums, integrated with lifted notes of violet. A complex palate, complemented by smoky hints from French oak. Elegant tannins lead to a rich, lingering finish.