Cuvee Aux Antipodes by Prophet’s Rock Chardonnay 2019


Francois and Paul decided to make this inaugural Cuvee Aux Antipodes Blanc (Chardonnay) in 2018. This 2019 bottling will be the second vintage release. This is the 3rd vineyard managed by Prophets Rock, following on from the Home and Rocky Point vineyards. The site itself is across from the Home Vineyard in Pisa (the opposite side of the valley to Bendigo). 1 hectare of Chardonnay, planted in 2004.The vineyard itself is on a flat terrace at the bottom of these slopes on the western bank of the valley. A mixed of schist from the mountains behind and river stone/fine gravel from the alluvial wash on the valley floor.

2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018 in the Cromwell basin. Yield is still kept very low by Francois and Paul, under 30 hect/hct.

Hand-picked, whole bunch pressed. Combined pressing and free run pre ferment. Settled, racked off heavy lees before going into barrel. Primary ferment went through fine, but due to the cold temperatures it took a long time to go through malolactic, in fact it’s not all the barrels went through malo, some never quite finished. Bare in mind the wine spent 32 months in barrel, over three winters! No battonage. Francois just didn’t want to rush the elevage. Racked off fine lees 6 months before bottling. The one new barrel was Remond Troncais cooper (Ladoix Serrangy), Medium toast. Same barrel as Francois would use for the Musigny Blanc at Comte de Vogue. 2000 bottles produced.

Paul and Francois reminded me that this extended elevage is definitely ab-normal for this wine, an anomaly due to the cold conditions. Also for those of you wondering how much Francois was involved due to being unable to travel to New Zealand for the past 2 years courtesy of COVID Paul sends samples of both the Blanc and Pinot Noir every 4 to 6 weeks back to Burgundy for Francois to review and then discuss with Paul.

François Millet notes – “This wine is the reflect of the Clutha river flowing just below, mineral, transparent and luminous. There is nothing exotic, “artificial” or “made up” about the expression of this wine. That shows again the link between what is emanating from the land, the feeling you have from it and the expression of the wines. Often is the Chardonnay the spirit of the land, the Pinot Noir coming from the same place being the body”

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Region: New Zealand, Central Otago  

Categories: White, Chardonnay

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