Biodynamic. Both of Pyramid Valley’s Pinot Noir vineyards are densely planted on clay/limestone slopes. Earth Smoke sits on the richer soils of the two: an expansive, east-facing slope with strong, beautifully structured soils that are comparatively high in limestone. The name here comes from the nickname given to fumitory, a plant of the poppy family that can be found thriving in this 0.85-hectare plot. Although both wines share a familial DNA, the later-picked Earth Smoke is typically the more structured and darker of the two, with more fruit weight to go with its tender, fine tannins. The fruit for the 2019 was carefully hand-sorted, fully destemmed and fermented wild. Following 27 to 28 days on skins, the juice was pressed, then settled in tank before being transferred by gravity to French barrels for 16 months. - Importer Note
Expect deep aromas in the blue/black fruit spectrum but also loads of spicy, sappy complexity. The palate is compact with a core of red fruits and savoury, sappy fruit enlivened by fine-etched tannins and a salty, refreshing close. Long. There is power, but the overall impression is of purity and energy. A vibrant expression of Earth Smoke. - Winery comments.
Pyramid Valley founders, Mike and Claudia Weersing, were driven to create one of the new world’s great cool-climate vineyards, and it took 15 years and a quixotic global journey that included a lengthy stopover in Burgundy. Mimicking the aspect and soils of this region, the Weersings finally found their special place in the southern hemisphere, within a barren chain of limestone-rich scarps at Waikari in North Canterbury. Inspiring all who came into their orbit, over another 15 years Mike and Claudia emerged as New Zealand pioneers of both biodynamic practices and high-density viticulture. Their minute scale and exceptional dedication to their soils and vines led to some incredible wines being produced.
In 2017, Mike and Claudia were moved to make the tough decision to put their magnum opus on the market. Steve Smith MW (previously of Craggy Range) was one of the many affected by what he describes as one the most compelling and unique vineyards he has ever visited, and he and his partner Brian Sheth acquired the estate in late 2017. Pyramid Valley had no shortage of suitors, and that Mike and Claudia chose to accept Smith’s offer speaks volumes. Smith’s blueprint from the outset has been to honour the Weersing’s vision and to build on the authenticity and integrity of the vineyard’s origins.
Smith brought in Huw Kinch from Martinborough’s Escarpment as Estate Manager and Winemaker. Kinch was already a huge fan, believing that Pyramid Valley’s Chardonnays were among the most profound examples he had tasted. Nick Paulin then joined from Central Otago, where he had been introduced to biodynamic viticulture under Blair Walter at Felton Road (before stints at Peregrine and Lowburn Ferry).
Pyramid Valley now release two collections annually: the emblematic, 100% estate Botanical Collection will be released on allocation; and for more general release is their Appellation Collection, which has PV working with a roster of exceptional growers in North Canterbury and Central Otago. This collection is the Pyramid Valley’s negociant arm—a vital part of this project, with the aim to create a set of wines that share the same sense of somewhereness as the wines from the home vineyard.
What we’ve already tasted from barrel in New Zealand and here in bottle, has convinced us beyond any doubt that Pyramid Valley is in very good hands. Building on the vision and authenticity of founders, the new owners look like a dead cert to cement this exceptional estate’s reputation as one of the New World’s most exciting producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. - Importer Note
|Wine Red Pinot Noir