Uncultured Pétillant Naturel 2016
"It's always interesting to play with new styles. In this case a new 'old' style - it certainly keeps you on your toes trying out ancient methods in the winery."- Erinn Klein, Winemaker
Ngeringa’s foray into this traditional style is a vibrant, wildly aromatic wine that readily displays the characteristics of the five grape varietals that went into its making: Pink Semillon, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer impart pithy pink grapefruit, juicy pear and bright, exotic fruit and floral notes on the nose, atop the cashew nuttiness of lees contact and just a hint of spicy green peppercorn. Fleshy yellow peach flavours on the palate with a gravelly texture and unusually firm tannic structure for a white wine. 25% Chardonnay contributes the freshness of acidic zip. Light, refreshing sparkle. A vivacious first vintage of this satisfyingly rustic style.
Pétillant Naturel (Pet Nat) is essentially farmhouse champagne - sparkling wine made in the méthode ancestrale without the addition of extra yeasts or sugars. Made from five varietals grown across both Ngeringa properties: Viognier from the sparkling micaceous soils of our Nairne Iluma Vinyeard; Pink Semillon and Chardonnay from the easterly-facing slopes of the Summit Vineyard; and Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer from the small original home vineyard, Ollie’s block.
25% Viognier, 25% Pink Semillon, 25% Chardonnay (sparkling base), 15% Pinot Gris, 10% Gewürztraminer. Aged for three months in old French barrels. Frozen Pink Semillon added back and fermented to dry. Wild fermentation, no enzymes, oxidative handling pre-fermentation, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, gentle extraction, warmer fermentation, minimal temperature control. No fining. Estate bottled. Small amounts of sulphites added before bottling.
2016 was a dry, hot vintage from the outset with only periodic respite. Promising rains in July and August of 2015 gave way quickly to an extremely dry spring and above-average temperatures, with essentially none of the seasonal rains we rely upon from October through much of January. On the bright side, despite conditions at flowering, we had a better-than-ever fruit set that was consistent across all varieties. And then, just as vintage was becoming visible on the horizon, the miracle came: a perfectly-timed, drenching rainstorm hit South Australia on January 21 & 22, refreshing the vines in a way irrigation just cannot match. A second significant rain event in the first few days of February ensured that the vintage was saved. The harvest was very early, beginning in the middle of February, but not nearly as early as it would have been and the fruit was thoroughly revived. The result was higher-than-average yields, good acidity, moderate concentration and balanced, approachable wines. Winegrowing is rarely for the feint of heart!