Alcohol Grade: 11.5%
Aging/ Vinification: 14 days in skins. Part of the blend is fermented whole bunch and aged in stainless steel, part is directly pressed, then fermented in aged in amphora, and two neutral barrels are filled and left untopped to develop a flor. These parts are then blended before bottling. Unfined and unfiltered.
Best to have it: 6-10ºC.
The Winery: The Hermit Ram
In 2012 Theo Coles discovered the Limestone Hills vineyard in Canterbury in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. Owned by Gareth Renowdon, Theo agreed to make some wine with him from his 1000 or so Pinot Noir vines. Limestone Hills vineyard is naturally farmed, and the first vintage (2012) was that way too — no additions and matured in old oak.
Since then Theo has expanded the range to include the skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc and Müller-Thurgau, a field blend rosé and another Pinot Noir. The fruit comes from tiny vineyards throughout the Canterbury region, all naturally farmed without chemicals and Theo is keen to stress that every wine has its own story to tell. We agree and would add that this is some of the most exciting wine to come out of New Zealand for a long time; a turning point for authentic, artisan winemakers in a country so often associated with mass-produced wine. These are wines with personality, depth, complexity and most importantly, drinkability.