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Deeply coloured, with alluring dark fruit, anise, and mocha aromatics. The palate is sweetly layered, with delicate generosity on the front giving way to an intensely structured mid. Firm, yet suavely sculpted back tannins lead the long, sustained finish.
The School House vineyard has unique conditions. Whilst sharing the same climatic trends as all Bendigo, its altitude means cooler daytime temperatures, slower ripening and reduced heat summation. The growing season started with successive cool fronts bringing cool, frosty conditions to the Central Otago spring. Escaping the worst of these, School House had a fast even flowering with excellent set within small bunches. Cool conditions in January 2016 slowed growth, but record temperatures in February meant berries and bunches remained small. A relatively cool March and April elongated ripening, ensuring a long extended opportunity for flavor development. Picking began in mid April with very intense fruit across all clones. Picked at the normal time for the vineyard, typically small, intensely flavored bunches headed to the winery. We used a range of ferments with most having a high level of whole cluster, ranging from 0 to 100% depending on clone. The fruit’s natural intensity drew us back from any undue extraction, with a very gentle cap management employed. After 14-24 days cuvaision, the wines spent 11 months in barrel (% new). The final blend incorporated a higher whole cluster percentage than ever (50%), with the vineyard’s maturity beginning to emerge.
Organically run, the School House vineyard gives spectacular wines - and views. Its North facing slope is located on glacial terrace, 420m above sea level, providing a crucial barrier against frost. Complex glacial sands and schist combine with the slope to ensure low fertility, moderate vine growth, and small concentrated bunches. Cooler temperatures by day elongate ripening, meaning wines gain a remarkable intensity, elegance and perfume