- Tasting Notes & Technical Details
Vegetarian, Vegan, Certified Organic
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.
The Classic Riesling is made from hand-selected parcels, vinified separately, with a small component aged in neutral oak barrels. Made in a Beerenauslese style and only in years where vintage conditions have been favourable, the Noble Riesling is a blend of late-harvest parcels and botrytised bunches.
Framingham’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is very different in style to the others on our list. This is due to a small percentage of the grapes undergoing fermentation on skins, part of the blend going through fermentation in oak and acacia barrels, and the entire blend spending six months on lees in order to acquire extra layers of flavour and texture. Their hand-picked Pinot Gris, inspired by the wines of Alsace, is harvested later than their other varieties and spends seven months on its lees, which gives a wine that offers generous baked apple, quince and cream flavours. The Pinot Noir is blended from several base wines made from four different Wairau Valley sites, including the estate vineyard. It is an elegant style with flavours of summer fruit compote and smoky oak. As wine writer Jamie Goode says, "Framingham’s regular range offers some of New Zealand’s best value for money."
These wines offer alternative takes on the varieties within the core Framingham range – staying true to their style, but with room for innovation. A strictly limited edition, the F-Series gives the winemaking team the flexibility to experiment with techniques and create small-batch wines that capture the essence of each vintage, resulting in some of Marlborough’s most exciting wines.
Fruit for the F-Series Old Vine Riesling is gently pressed and undergoes fermentation with wild yeasts. A portion of the wine is fermented in old oak to add more texture and complexity, and the entire blend spends nine months on lees. The F-Series Sauvignon Blanc, fermented in a combination of old oak barrels, puncheons and stainless steel tanks, also spends nine months on lees and has a uniquely earthy and mineral flavour profile. These are wholly individual wines of great personality.
The grapes used in the F-Series Sauvignon Blanc were picked from three parcels of organically grown vines surrounding the Wairau Valley. The soils here are old riverbed deposits, composed of greywacke pebbles (a dark coloured sandstone with a high proportion of quartz and feldspar), alluvial gravels and silt.
2021 saw a mild winter, and an early bud-burst. There were two severe frosts in September and October. which caused widespread damage through the region, reducing potential yields. Early November was wet and reasonably warm, so the non-frosted vineyard blocks continued to track a couple of weeks ahead of normal. Flowering was early, but was disrupted by inclement weather. This was followed by a warm January, with a couple of really hot days and with cool nights. Comparatively dry January and February to prior months, with the latter being cooler than average, and helping retain acidity and fruit flavours. Weather during harvest was perfect. Ultimately yields in 2021 were low and the fruit had good flavour, concentration, and ripeness.
The grapes were hand-harvested. 90% were then whole bunch pressed, and the remaining 10% de-stemmed and fermented on the skins. The ferments occurred spontaneously with indigenous yeast in a mixture of 225 litre and 500 litre seasoned French oak and acacia barrels. where they were stored on gross lees for 10 months before blending and bottling.
An expressive, bold Sauvignon Blanc with ripe lemon and, grapefruit, and orange citrus aromas and underlying notes of subtle oak. The palate is creamy and textural, full of citrus fruit and complexity.