In the Vineyard
The Pinot vines carry a maximum of 7 tonnes per hectare. Yields are seen to be a major influence in the production of quality Pinot Noir. In order to achieve low yields, the vineyard is non-irrigated, cane-pruned, shoot-thinned and a final adjustment is made by crop thinning at veraison.
Picking time for the Pinot is usually around early March. The fruit is ripened to approximately 13° baume, but this is not recipe winemaking and fruit flavour ultimately determines picking dates. The fruit is then handpicked and transported to the adjacent winery on the Picardy estate.
In the Winery
In the winery about 80% of the fruit is destemmed and pumped into small fermenters. The remainder is left as whole bunches. The must is cold macerated pre-fermentation for three to five days. Wild yeast activity is encouraged during the early part of fermentation. The fermentation is carried out at between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius over 15 to 21 days, until the cap sinks. During fermentation the wine is hand-plunged five times per day.
The wine and skins are run directly from the fermenter into the airbag press, and then pressed firmly. The different ferments are then blended to allow maximum integration time. Where possible, at Picardy it is common practice to blend clones for co-fermentation.
The wine is settled and pumped into new to four year old French oak barriques, where it matures for ten months. While in oak the wine goes through malolactic fermentation and each barrel is checked and topped up weekly. This wine is matured on lees until it is racked out of barrel and then given a gentle filtration on its way to bottle.