Pyramid Valley Field of Fire Chardonnay 2020

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White, Chardonnay
New Zealand
Year 2020
13.5% Alcohol
by Pyramid Valley

'Biodynamic. Named after the type of grass growing in the vineyard, this densely planted Chardonnay site sits on a southeast-facing, clay-limestone slope, which has been farmed biodynamically from the beginning. Although recently expanded by one hectare, the original plantings cover only a quarter of a hectare. Like its three sibling vineyards, it’s a site farmed to Grand Cru Burgundy standards, or higher. Fire is a cooler, rockier site than the Lion’s Tooth vineyard and the wine typically shows a tighter mineral core cloaked by layered, complex and fleshy fruit.

The grapes for the 2020 were foot-stomped in the original shed and then whole-bunch pressed. The juice fermented wild on full solids before spending 20 months on lees in high-quality, used French oak. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Steve Smith mentions in his release notes that “the 2020 Field of Fire will no doubt generate some conversations.” We should add that the tone of these conversations will be positive! In short, the seasonal pH at Pyramid Valley was exceptionally low (3.07 in this case), and despite gentle coaxing, the Field of Fire did not entirely finish malolactic fermentation. The final wine sits at a racy 8.9g/L. Yet, while the acidity is prominent in its steely and salty guise, the wine is flavour ripe with the richness, complexity and length to carry the rapier acidity.

The nose has a complex medley of fresh and pithy stone fruits, saline fringes and toasted hazelnuts alongside a wisp of smoky reduction. Driven by that tensile acidity, the powerful and densely packed palate combines lightness and breadth, flowing seamlessly through flavours of lemon curd, hazelnuts and a sourdough maltiness before finishing with great length and precision. It’s already a stunning Chardonnay and has everything in place to blossom over the next decade. - Pyramid Valley

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