Muddy Water Pinot Noir Slowhand 2013
Deep red cherry colour with a nose of lifted florals, blue and black berries, spice and rich plum. The palate is sensual and textual. Initial restrained power unfolds and build to a long and lively length with integrated tannins and savoury French oak.
The Slowhand block was the first to be planted and embodies the founding ethos of Muddy Water: that our vines be carefully and meticulously tended by ‘slow hands’. The limestone-laced clay soil is conducive to making great Pinot Noir and is slightly denser on this block, restricting vine vigour and lengthening ripening time to develop distinct structure and texture. Because the block is on flatter ground the drainage is not as good and the vines get less sun than our hillside blocks – so we only make Slowhand in years when the weather is suitably dry and sunny to ensure a perfect crop.
Rows are planted exclusively with 10/5, an old style vine grown on its own roots that creates a rich, powerful wine. 10/5 naturally produces more fruit than ideal for quality wine production, but with gentle old-world methods of spur-pruning and canopy management we maintain a restrained cropping rate. Fruit bunches are typically large and so a lot of hands-on work is done to keep bunch numbers low and remove shoulders from individual bunches before they begin final ripening.
Slowhand is an iron fist in a velvet glove; it delivers great power yet is seamless and smooth. The late-ripening fruit is full of heady plum and blueberry characters, and the textural and length elements are exemplary – the feel of velvet and persistence is unrivalled. Slowhand is our rarest Pinot Noir; it's not made every year and is made in small batches only.
The fruit is hand-picked in early morning to allow for natural cold soaking. Typically this block is destemmed entirely although in some years we might use a little whole bunch. The fruit is inspected in the field and sorted a second time by winery crew to select only the most perfectly ripe fruit. Fermentation is kicked off by naturally occurring wild yeast. Our small fermenters are hand plunged daily before a gentle pressing to French oak barrels. The final product is bottled without need for fining or filtration.