Bannock Brae Estate
Bannock Brae Estate is the fulfillment of Catherine & Crawford’s dream to live in sunny Central Otago and produce world-class Pinot noir. From the very beginning the pursuit of quality has determined every decision made on the vineyard and in the winemaking process. This philosophy has quickly been reflected in award-winning wines. Over ten vintages, Bannock Brae’s Central Otago Pinot noir has been awarded more than 20 Gold medals and ‘Champion Wine of the Show’ in NZ wine competitions. On this basis, it is New Zealand’s most-awarded single vineyard Pinot noir producer.
Fax: (+64) 3 445 4428
- Producing the finest Pinot Noir from the terroir of Central Otago.
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Practices & Techniques
The fruit is generally harvested in early to mid April.
We typically pick at 24-25 °Brix and, due to our spectacular ‘terroir’, the grapes are sugar-ready at the same time as they are physiologically-ready. This gives us the wonderful silky velvety mouth-feel so sought after in a premium quality Pinot noir wine. Of course, flavour is maximised as well, and the ability to hang our fruit out longer means that skin tannins, and even stalk and pip tannins, are ripe and brown instead of green. In premium years, we also ‘whole bunch’ ferment a portion of our fruit in order to extract extra grape tannins from the stalks.
Must pH ranges from 3.20 -3.30 with titratable acidity of 7.6 – 8.5g/L typical.
For the first 5 days or so the musts are kept cool at 12-13°C. Fermentation is encouraged by warming to 17°C and inoculating with cultured yeast. Prior to inoculation the musts are punched down daily and during fermentation they are punched down 3-4 times daily. Fermentation temperatures are kept at a maximum of 31°C. Fermentation typically takes 7-9 days.
Most of the ferments are pressed off at around 25 days. The wine is pressed extremely gently in an air bag press at no more than 1.2 bar. The free run wine and pressings are combined and settled overnight before being racked to barrel. Barrels from a number of French coopers are utilised with an overall new oak ratio of around 30%. The wine undergoes malo-lactic fermentation during spring.
In January or February, the barrels are tasted by the winemaker and Crawford with a view to selecting the ‘best of the best’ barrels for the Barrel Selection Pinot noir with the balance being designated as Goldfields Pinot noir.
In February, the wine is racked out of the barrels, blended and then bottled. We strive to minimize intervention during the winemaking process, and indeed, for recent vintages our ‘Barrel Selection’ has been so spectacular that it has not been fined nor filtered before bottling – very unusual for a NZ wine.