These wines represent an alternative approach to the varieties within the core Framingham range – staying true to their style, but with room for innovation. A strictly limited edition, the F-Series allows head winemaker Andrew and his team the flexibility to experiment with winemaking techniques and create small batch wines that capture the essence of each vintage, resulting in some of Marlborough’s most exciting wines.
Grapes for 2016 F-Series Old Vine Riesling were selected from the 35 year old organically grown vines in front of the cellar door building. Soils there are of the old river bed type; fist sized stones composed of greywacke (a hard, dark type of sandstone streaked with quartz and feldspar) mixed alluvial gravel and silt. Vineyard practice for this wine is geared to produce ripe grapes that have had maximum “hang time” on the vine.
Marlborough’s growing season is generally characterised by warm, sunny days and cool nights resulting in fruit with good natural acidity and clean, fresh flavours. Heat summation data for the 2015/6 growing season shows it to be second only to 1997/8 for recent vintages. Weather was stable and relatively dry under El Niño conditions into March. Framingham's vineyard management meant that Pinot Gris crops were perhaps a little lighter than some other varietals for 2016, and generally favourable weather over the rest of harvest allowed them to pick ripe grapes with the good late season flavours.
All fruit was harvested by hand, and then separated into two portions on arrival at the winery. Half of the grapes were de-stemmed and given six hours skin contact before pressing, and the rest were whole bunch pressed. Unclarified musts were settled for 12 hours before racking off gross solids to a mixture of stainless steel barrels and older oak. Fermentation was allowed to start spontaneously, and the components were left on full ferment lees for nine months before blending and bottling. Of the total volume, approximately 12% was fermented in old oak.
A deliciously balanced old-world style, the nose has concentrated lime fruit with hints of honeysuckle and stony minerality. Medium to full bodied, the palate is intense with rich, balanced flavours of mandarin and ripe apple. Layered and complex, citrus fruits and wet slate continue throughout. Crisp, lively riesling acidity carries through the dry, lingering finish.