The name Redmetal is derived from the local description of the soil type - a thin layer of silt loam over river deposited gravels with a distinct reddish hue. Drainage is rapid and the soils warm up early, providing a long growing season which is ideal for the production of high quality red wine grapes. Low yielding vines with well exposed fruit are crucial for high quality, and we use spur pruning, extensive leaf plucking and bunch thinning to achieve that end. Climate, soil and vineyard management develop a synergy (the French notion of terroir) that finds its expression in the intensely coloured and richly flavoured red wines created here.
Only 6.5 hectares in planted area, the vineyard comprises 65% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 22% Syrah and 5% Albarino - a variety that has the potential to do well in this climate. Our objective has always been to grow and make Merlot dominant wine, as we believe that the early ripening Merlot performs consistently well in Hawkes Bay. It has fantastic flavours ranging from red berryfruit / brambles through blackberry and plum to concentrated prune and licorice with chocolate overtones, depending on the level of ripeness. It is very well suited to these 'redmetal' gravel soils and rarely suffers from either overtly herbaceous characters or the cooked flavours of hotter climates. Cabernet Franc is also proving to be an excellent variety on this site, adding vibrant colour, aromatic fruit and tannin to the rich, fleshy fruit of the Merlot, as well as making a very smart dry Rose. Syrah is a great variety here, with deep colour, rich plum and dark berry flavours, a hint of spice, and silky tannins. And Albarino is settling in to a consistent pattern of ripe fruit with a fresh palate that seems wildly well suited to this climate.
All of our vines are grafted to phylloxera resistant rootstock to allow them to reach true maturity and develop concentration and complexity of flavour in the fruit. Soil moisture is monitored and irrigation is used sparingly to ensure the vines are not excessively stressed in these free-draining gravel soils.