24 February 2011

Guy Porter From Bellbird Spring

We've recently added 4 fantastic wines to our list, and had the wine maker himself, Guy Porter down at the stall in Borough Market to introduce them.

Great reaction to all his wines throughout the day.
Here's a little background to what they do and the wines they make.
Guy Porter Chats to a Borough Wines Customer

In 2002 the Porter family returned from the UK to New Zealand after many years away. Coming back to Canterbury in New Zealand's South Island to make their home at Bellbird Spring in the Waipara Valley.
Bellbird Spring, Home Block Vineyard is 5.2 hectares in area.  On a terrace above the Waipara river they have planted Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Muscat Ottonell on one hectare of this site to make Home Block White - their Vin de Terroir. Sauvignon Blanc is also planted and is used for 'The Pruner's Reward' label. 
Two years later and they bought another site.  A clay slope to the north of the river which they named Block Eight.  Sauvignon Blanc was planted here too, making a fuller old barrel fermented style. Pinot Gris was also planted, once again producing weightier wines than the Home Block terrace site.
Each member their family plays a part.  Tom and Sheila Porter have their home there and produce extra virgin olive oil from a grove on the Home Block.  Their daughter, Alex, runs the company's office whilst their son Guy, (pictured) a winemaking graduate of Adelaide University, manages the vineyard and makes the wine.
Lying 60 kilometres north of Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island, the Waipara Valley enjoys a cool climate with low rainfall and long, sunny autumns.  This dry, ‘Indian Summer’ allows their fruit to ripen slowly during a long growing season with remarkably similar conditions to those found in Alsace.
On the Home Block - soil is classic alluvial bench and their vines have sunk their roots deep into the Glasnevin gravels of the Waipara Valley terraces.  In these poor, free-draining soils vine vigour is naturally restrained, yields are low, and the plant maintains an innate balance between vegetation and fruit.  Block Eight is composed of stoney, sandy Domett clay.  It is warmer than the Home Block and ripeness comes a little earlier.
Nevertheless, much manual work remains.  Leaves are plucked to expose the fruit to the sun, fruit may be thinned to balance yield with concentration.  Once each harvest is complete they return again in the winter to prune and then, with spring, the cycle of work and growth begins again.
Winemaking at Bellbird spring is typified by hand harvesting, wholebunch pressing of white varieties or hand plunging reds.  Wines are generally naturally fermented or aged in old oak barriques, refecting an artisan style. They craft small lots from individual vineyards alowing the identiy of their site and vintage to express itself.