by Alex Craighead
Here we landed (imaginatively...) in Nelson, a small town at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island. Nearby, exactly in the Upper Moutere, Alex Craighead is the mind and the hand, as well as the winemaker and owner of the Kindeli project. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, all organically grown and treated with the use of sulfur, algae, compost, bat guano and copper (only when absolutely necessary). Local trees and many wild crops also cross the rows, including plants such as clover that help restore nitrogen to the soil. And in Spring you can also attend the graceful dance among the vineyards of the neighbor's flock of sheep who mow the grass and eat all the leaves and shoots around the young and green bunches of grapes. Since the grapes are extremely high in acid and low and sugar at this point, the fruit is not appetizing for sheep.
In addition to these historic vineyards all located around the winery, the company recently purchased old Pinot Noir vineyards overlooking the ocean and Chardonnay planted in the Moutere Series Gravel.
Absolute cleanliness in the cellar! Alex doesn't even allow you to bring glasses of wine from their home to the cellar, for fear that an evil and rogue microorganism like the Brettanomyces will haunt the place.
In fact, it tends to be ultra sensitive to all forms of wine defect and has devised dozens of preventive measures that seem to be extremely effective. To avoid reduction, it supplies its wines with a lot of oxygen during fermentation; also performs delestage on white wines to keep fermentation good. Once the must is saturated with oxygen, it usually pumps the headspace of the fermentation vessel with CO2 to prevent unwanted bacteria from forming on the cork or on the surface of the wine. This usually hinders acetobacteria and therefore prevents unwanted volatile acidity.
Of course, all vinifications are spontaneous and in the cellar a combination of stainless steel tanks, neutral oak barrels, polyethylene tanks and amphorae cross. The experiments are never lacking, such as carbonic macerations, but also classic direct pressing and maceration on the skins which, however, have been reduced in the search for elegance and clarity. The finished wines are bottled exclusively by gravity (using an archaic evil gadget) and are hand-corked. In 2017 it was converted into Noma caps made with recycled sugar cane pieces. They are carbon neutral and cannot be infected with TCA or other deteriorating aromas. It does not add SO2 to wines and they are not clarified or filtered.
Ladies and gentlemen...here are the crazy blends of the fantastic and inimitable Alex Craighead!!!
Otono '19 - Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling; the Gewurztraminer was fermented on the skins for five days in an amphora, while the Pinot Gris and Riesling was macerated in amphora as well but for a single day; after fermentation, the wines are all mixed together and mature in amphorae for several months before being bottled. Imagine a funny and extravagant fruit salad with wild and floral aromas...to lose your head! 31,90€
Blanco '19 - blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, both from three different vineyards; 5% was fermented in carbonic; 15% was de-stemmed and fermented with skins for a few days; the rest was directly pressed and fermented in used oak and steel barrels. herbs and flowers with a little Sauvignon gooseberry and toasted Chardonnay hazelnut. Well structured and with a super exciting ending! 27,90€
Verano '19 - Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Syrah; the various varieties co-ferment in three separate lots and then all be united; there are partial full cluster fermentations, with short maceration and direct pressing. The complete photo of Alex's vineyard, in fact every variety grown in the Kindeli house is used! Red and white fruits and flowers, mineral puffs, spices...a tourbillon of purely ecstatic sensations! TOP!!! 31,90€
Primavera '19 - Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling. The red grapes were pressed in whole bunches, while the white ones macerated overnight on the skins; refermented in bottle; juicy, thirst-quenching and flavoursome bubbles!!! 31,90€
Luna Nueva '19 - Viognier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc; very short maceration on the amphora skins where the aging then follows. new cuvée...and what a cuvée!!! Kindeli wines always dance with consistency and passion, but this wine makes rumba with a lot of taste! There are a lot of aromatic sensations, many peach blossoms, apricot, passion fruit seeds...in short, an absolutely exceptional wine!!! 31,90€
Invierno '19 - Pinot Noir with a little Pinot Gris; whole bunch co-fermentation for three days; then they are pressed and finished to ferment in steel. A real detachment from traditions and the past to navigate towards winemaking methods and innovative blends that offer a lot of character, freshness and pure drinkability! Here, as well as being the creed of Alex, you can find all these things inside a glass of Invierno! 31,90€
Tinto '19 - Pinot Noir for the most part, a bit of Syrah, but also a pin of Petit Verdot. 10% has undergone carbonic maceration; the rest spent between five and twelve days of maceration on the skins with about 10% of the mass still with the stalks; all in steel. The red glouglou version according to Alex! Fresh and young, with the characteristic brazen notes of flowers and small red fruits donated by carbonic maceration. A very lively, juicy wine with delicious and fine tannins. 27,90€
Luna Llena '19 - Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petit Verdot; the grapes are mainly destemmed and fermented in amphora with a maceration of 5/10 days; 10% ferment and macerate in whole bunches and another 10% ferment in carbonic. Romantic blend with elegant soft ripe tannins, ripe fruit, notes of dark plum. 31,90€
Wine Symphony natural wine shop of wines made by small vignerons with a big heart!!!