Vintage 2006 Marlborough

2006 marks the tenth vintage for Churton. Each one has been quite different interesting and stimulating, all have thrown up their own challenges and to date all have progressed well. In 1997 we produced about 400 cases of wine. In 2006 we produced about 7500 cases. A slow but steady growth; quality and individuality are our primary concerns rather than volume.

2006 will be remembered by Marlborough winemakers as one of the earliest vintage on record. All our grapes were picked before the end of March. The first time this has ever happened.

Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Noir
Weather Conditions

The 2006 season started with a rather dry but quite warm winter that led into a very warm early spring. This lead to very early bud break which was about a week or ten days earlier than usual. The early part of spring continued mild with regular weekly rainfall that encouraged good even shoot growth. The flowering period for Pinot was rather cool but we had good but not excessive fruit set. For Sauvignon Blanc we had a very warm flowering that gave exceptional fruit set. This meant that in two of our vineyards we had to crop thin to keep the yield under control and to achieve the level of fruit weight and concentration we require.

We had a very good warm sunny and dry spell throughout January. This allowed us to exert some stress in the vineyards. Water stress is very important in our view particularly with red varieties like Pinot Noir as it restricts the berry size thus increasing solids to juice ratio (this gives great concentration of flavour aroma and colour). It also helps ensure that tannin develops well producing softer more supple tannins.

Just as we completed veraison we had a very wet period which helped refresh the vines and even up the ripening process. From then until the end of vintage there was very little rain with a prolonged drought not excessive temperatures but good cool ripening conditions. Fruit of both varieties was picked in excellent condition with good levels of extract and concentration slightly lower than normal acidities but to compensate very low pH’s that give the wines excellent structure.

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