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Churton 'The Abyss' Pinot Noir

The Abyss is the highest block planted to a 15% slope. At the end of the slope is a precipitous cliff dropping 50 meters down to the Omaka River. Organic and biodynamic certification. Low yield are less than a quarter of the normal Marlborough average or around 20–25hl/ha), and hand-picked into small, 14kg baskets. A large proportion of whole berries are transferred to open fermenters. Fermentation occurs naturally after about 6 days of maceration. Tanks are gently plunged twice a day. A 14 day post fermentation maceration follows and results in a supple character to the tannins. The wine is then aged for 18 months in 30% new and used French Bourguignon. Racked twice and then bottled.

Churton is a 22.5 hectare estate with southeast planting located at an altitude of 200 m. It features 9 blocks named after cuts of meat. Sam and Mandy Weaver established Churton based on their passion and philosophy. Sam is a pioneering Englishman from Church Pulverbatch (known locally as Churton) in Shropshire England, where agriculture dominates. Farming is in his roots, and his scientific aptitude comes from studying microbiology in London. He synchronized both brilliantly and it shows in the precision and character of his wines. Sam is a staunch advocate for biodynamic practices and is always striving to create active soils with a diversity of plants and microbes. This results in wine that truly expresses its organic origin. Sam and Mandy Weaver are an anomaly for Marlborough. Densely planted at around 500 vines per hectare on slopes, all hand-picked and with minimal irrigation, and minimal intervention in the cellar. Their old vines are planted in a patchwork pattern and include Viognier and Petit Manseng, further evidence of their departure from the norm for the area.

Winemaker: Sam Weaver
Country: New Zealand
Region: Marlborough, Waihopai Slopes
Type: Red
Variety: Pinot Noir
Farming: Organic, Biodynamic
Age of Vines: Planted 2000
Production: 3,000 bottles
Soil: Loess over dense clay