Winemaker Tony Bish has carved a niche for himself as one of New Zealand's top Chardonnay producers and now he has created what he says is the world's first Chardonnay to be made entirely in an ovum an egg shaped vessel made from French oak.
The ovum was made by Taransaud in Cognac near Bordeaux and the new 2017 Zen Chardonnay costs $139.99.
“Having spent a year with the Ovum in my cellar it gives a very calming, positive vibe to the place. It is an incredible piece of craftmanship and extraordinarily beautiful. To name this wine ZEN, was an easy choice,” says Tony.
Tony's philosophy was to match the hand-picked, whole bunch pressed Mendoza Chardonnay from the Skeetfield Vineyard with the particular properties of the ovum.
The wine had no settling or additions and was fermented with indigenous, wild yeasts from the vineyard for two to three weeks.
“Yeast played a critical part in the development of this wine,” says Tony. “We add nothing at all to the juice so the native yeasts were able to flourish with each yeast adding its own nuances to the complexity and differentiation.”
Following the initial ferment a natural malo-lactic fermentation took place and the wine began its maturation process in the temperature-controlled barrel room. It was left in the ovum for 12 months, which allowed the yeast-derived complexity to fully develop.
The wine was then racked several times so that it could be bottled without fining or filtration, all steps that add purity and elegance due to minimum handling, which protects vineyard character and integrity.
“I’m a huge fan of dry farmed vineyards and I rate Skeetfield as one of the best. Because it’s never irrigated, the roots go deep into the soil profile, drawing from the mineral, nutrient and water reserves well below the ground. It produces wines of incredible flavour intensity, and we see that in Zen. The palate is extraordinarily rich and layered with creamy texture, and citrus notes that follow right through to the finish,” says Tony.
The new 2017 Zen Chardonnay is available for $139.99