The Abyss Pinot Noir 2008


The Abyss block is named for its remarkable geography. Sitting at 200 metres altitude the vines run down a gentle 14% northeast facing slope that finishes abruptly in a steep drop to the Omaka River. The 50m cliff face distinctly shows the clay/Loess soil profile that has such a profound effect on the wines grown here. This part of the vineyard not only has the best exposure to the sun it also benefits from 17% clay subsoil. This exceptional terroir has our oldest vines with very deep roots producing deep character full wines. The Abyss is 2.2 ha, this wine is selected from the 4 best barrels of this vineyard in 2008.




The fruit was all hand picked and due to the variability of fruit set was then also hand sorted in the vineyard on triage tables. It was again hand sorted in the winery to ensure only the best ripe fruit was kept, anything that showed any signs of being under ripe was rejected. The resulting musts had excellent balance of sugar and acid with very good tannin maturity at 24.2-25.5 Brix.

The Abyss winemaking is very similar to Churton’s Pinot Noir. Hand picked grapes are transported in small 12kg bins to the winery to prevent any crushing of fruit. The whole bunches were de-stemmed and fed by gravity to open fermenters. Each vineyard parcel of grapes is kept separate. The wines were cool soaked for 7- 10 days prior to fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation was with natural indigenous yeast and was very rapid and warm. Following fermentation the wine was macerated warm on skins for 17 days with careful assessment of tannin and fruit development. The wine was gently pressed off, with free run and pressings kept separate, then settled for 48 hours before being transferred to French Oak barrels. 50% new, the balance was in older fine grained French Oak barrels. After 12 months in barrel the Pinot Noir underwent a natural malolactic ferment in spring. The best best four barrels were selected, racked once and fined with egg white to help clarify, prior to bottling.  The wine was bottled without filtration.


Wine Analysis

Alcohol 14.0%
Titratable Acidity 5.1 g/l
Residual grape sugar <1 g/l
pH 3.76

Tasting Notes

Complex and deep, this wine exhibits aromatic Musk Rose with a strong fruit core of dark cherries and plums, layered with elements of spice, savouriness and classic Churton earthiness. It has a long and structured finish with fine savoury tannins that will ensure that it develops well in bottle..


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