THE VINEYARD and LOCATION The organic TOSQ Pinot Noir vineyard is tucked into a corner of the Pisa District, Central Otago, close to the Wanaka/Cromwell Highway in New Zealand. The vineyard is Certified Organicby Biogro, NZ.
It lies on a glacial terrace, gently sloping north and east, sheltered to some extent from the worst of the cold south winds by ‘Sugarloaf’, a local landmark feature which marks the physical end of a previous glacial advance.
The dominant Pisa Range to the west reaches 1964 metres. These mountains create a rain shadow effect, meaning that the annual rainfall received by these vineyards is around 400mm per annum, which is approximately one third less than is received on the other side of the range in the Queenstown and Wanaka basins.
The soils are schist derived fine sandy loam over gravels with some clay content. They naturally have low organic matter, which when coupled with the region’s dry climate, leads to low or moderate vigour vines.
Planting Density is 4343 vines/ha. Clones are 115, 5, Abel, 777 and 667
THE CLIMATE Central Otago’s climate is the closest in New Zealand to a continental climate. It is a land of extremes being the coldest and driest part of New Zealand. The seasons are sharply defined; summers are typified by long days (daylight lasts until 10pm) that are hot and low in humidity; autumn sees cooler evenings with hot and still days shortening as we head into winter; winter mornings are often misty, the days cloudless and windless and the nights freezing; while spring sees a return to warmer weather with typical equinox winds.
THE WINE Our grapes are handpicked in the early morning, chilled overnight and then fermented in small open vats with as much whole bunch as possible. After a total of four weeks on skins the vats are then picked up and tipped into the press. Once the alcoholic fermentation is complete (in mid-winter), the wine is racked into small tanks and then sailed over to the Yarra. It’s then gravity fed into small French barriques for the malolactic fermentation and 12 months maturation here at Giant Steps.
WHY THE NAME TOSQ? The Vineyard was planted and is worked by the Thompson family - Carl (also known as Thommo), Oscar, Sue and Quinn.
WHAT ARE WE DOING IN NEW ZEALAND? Our fascination with Single Vineyard Pinot Noir has taken us out of the Yarra and into the most exciting cool climates of the southern hemisphere. This wine is one part of that adventure, alongside the Nocton Vineyard Pinot from the Coal River valley in Tasmania.