The Framingham label was launched in 1994 with one Riesling, and has since expanded to include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Framingham produces wines from their 19.5 hectare estate vineyard (certified organic since 2014) and other selected sites. Their Riesling vines, planted in 1981, are among the oldest in Marlborough.
Andrew Brown joined Framingham as head winemaker in January 2020, replacing Dr Andrew Hedley, who resigned from his role after 18 years at the helm. A highly regarded winemaker, Brown previously spent seven years at Framingham as assistant winemaker and understudy to Andrew Hedley before working as a consultant in regions including Oregon, Central Otago and Alsace. Last year, one of Brown’s Rieslings won the Champion Riesling Trophy at the New Zealand International Wine Show; a fitting accolade for someone taking the reins at Framingham, who have always been renowned for their Rieslings.
Fruit for the Framingham Classic Riesling is sourced from three sites on their estate vineyard in the Wairau Valley. The alluvial, well-draining soils of the Wairau were formed by the sedimentation of the Wairau River. In the warm centre of the valley – where there is low rainfall and relatively low frost risk – Framingham are able to harvest controlled yields at desired ripeness. Extensive crop thinning and a degree of leaf plucking are practised when necessary, giving low yields of grapes that have had managed exposure to sunlight.
The 2021 vintage commenced with a mild winter, which led to an early budburst. Two severe frosts in September and October caused widespread damage throughout the Marlborough region, greatly impacting yields. Conditions had become wet and reasonably warm in early November, so the blocks that escaped frost damage continued to track a couple of weeks ahead of schedule and resulted in an early flowering. January was warm with several intensely hot (+40°C) days, but cool night-time temperatures meant that the grapes were able to retain good levels of freshness and acidity. Conditions were perfect at harvest and although yields were low, the fruit showed a beautiful concentration and ripeness.
Harvest took place over the first week of April 2021. Each parcel was hand picked and whole bunch pressed, with no pre-ferment maceration taking place. The majority of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks with approximately 3% fermented on skins over two weeks, followed by ageing in oak. All components were aged on full ferment lees for around five months prior to blending and bottling, which took place on 15th September 2021.
A generous, mouth-filling wine with a fragrant, complex nose displaying mandarin and stone fruit, with smoky, flinty notes. The vibrant, intense, and focused palate is reminiscent of orange, Meyer lemon, and stone fruit flavours held together by good line of juicy acidity and elegant texture