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Framingham hits mother of vintages for six...

For immediate release
14 November 2008

Framingham hits mother of vintages for six...

• It is thought to be the first time any company in Marlborough has bottled six ‘sticky’ wines in any one year.
• After tasting the wines Bob Campbell MW described winemaker Andrew Hedley as “the master of sweet” while Jane Skilton MW called the wines “absolutely brilliant”.
• Andrew says “we didn’t make them to make money – we made them cos we could”.

The 2008 Marlborough vintage was described by many winemakers as being the mother of all vintages. But Framingham Wines spent no time bemoaning the conditions – preferring to make the most of the weather to create a stunning array of botrytis affected wines.

In response to the rain that blighted the last days of harvest, winemaker Andrew Hedley and viticulturist Anton Groffen decided to celebrate the conditions by leaving some grapes on the vine and allowing the inevitable noble rot to weave some magic.

“We left a few rows of Gewurztraminer and an even smaller amount of Viognier as well as some Riesling and I have to say we were thrilled with the result.”

The end result is six botrytis affected wines – the renowned Framingham Noble Riesling, plus a Gewürztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles, a Botrytised Viognier, and three separate Riesling Auslesen. All have been made in tiny batches with Framingham having to borrow from the local institute of technology equipment small enough to bottle the limited quantities.

It is thought to be the first time any company in Marlborough has bottled six botrytis affected or ‘sticky’ wines in any one year. It is also an expression of the diversity being employed by the Framingham winemaking and viticultural team, Andrew says.

“We are trying to produce the best range of aromatics that we can and we aren’t averse to taking risks and experimenting with the fruit that we have available. We have a policy of making interesting wines and I hope we have achieved that this year.”

The three Riesling Auslesen (labelled 1, 2 and 3) come from separate plots within Framingham Estate, with all of the fruit coming off 28-year-old vines around the company’s winery. With production limited to less than 250 bottles, the Riesling Auslesen are being sold in packs of three. Only 400 bottles of the Gewurztraminer are available and 120 of the Botrytised Viognier.

The fruit for each of the wines was handpicked and the ensuing wines hand crafted.

“They are low in alcohol and very Germanic in style, which is a bit of a signature for our sweet wines. And they are interesting – representing something that doesn’t necessarily come out of Marlborough very often.”

Wine writer Jane Skilton MW is one of just a few who has tasted the wines and describes them as “Absolutely brilliant. It’s great to see someone doing something out of the ordinary. I was impressed at the differences between the three Rieslings and the Viognier and Gewurztraminer were just delicious.”

Meanwhile Bob Campbell MW after trying the wines described Andrew as “the master of sweet” and went on to say that they “all are very good (and very collectible). My own favourite is the Gewurztraminer, an absolutely amazing wine with pure botrytis and strong varietal flavours”.

When asked why he would put so much effort into producing such small quantities of botrytis affected wines, Andrew’s response was simply – “we didn’t make them to make money – we made them cos we could. We wanted to celebrate those weather conditions we had during vintage, rather than sit back and moan about them. That’s what we have done.”

“To me the most important thing is what is in the bottle. These latest wines have been created for people who are looking for diversity and interest.”

Released just in time for Christmas, all six wines are being sold in gift packs and are only available from the Framingham Cellar Door – open every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm or phone +64 3 572 8884.


Check out Bob’s review at:

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