If The Abyss sounds more like a scary movie than a great wine, you only need to taste a sip to recalibrate your thoughts. The high priced Marlborough Pinot Noir is made from a hillside vineyard which backs onto a precipitous cliff, hence the name, The Abyss. The vines here were planted in 2000 at a high density of approximately 5000 vines to the hectare, making it pretty unusual for New Zealand where most vines are grown on flat land at significantly lower density, providing in general far less competition for water and nutrients from the soils. And that's part of what makes The Abyss so different. The raw material has had to struggle a lot more than unusual. Just how this translates into the taste of the wine is a matter of much ongoing debate in wine circles, suffice to say that the wine is outstanding and among the top tier of New Zealand Pinot Noir. It's also 100% certified organic with Bio-Gro New Zealand andgrown biodynamically, so the grapes were picked on a root day and a flower day, respectively, on 1 and 3 April this year. Yields were low. The concentration of flavour in the wine is high.
The juice had a high proportion of whole berries in the ferment which was done with indigenous yeasts over 7 to 10 days with hand plunging twice daily over this time. The wine then stayed on skins post ferment for one lunar month and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. A modest 10% of the oak was new, so this is about expressing the place; not the oaka.
Winemaker Sam Weaver describes The Abyss Pinot Noir as an iron fist in a velvet glove.
The velvet part is easy to see and the structure also impressively lives up to this description.
We have small volumes of this great Marlborough Pinot Noir. Be in quick.