2016 Hermit Ram Pinot Noir (Whole Bunch)
The Hermit Ram is the brainchild of winemaker Theo Coles (who makes wine for a few of the other brands we love) and are among the most intense, extreme, singular expressions of North Canterbury terroir. Theo makes two Pinot's under The Hermit Ram, Limestone Hills (a single site expression) and Whole Bunch which is made this year with 100% whole bunches. I'll let Jamie Goode explain:
"The benefits of whole bunch? One is textural: it seems to deliver a textural smoothness or silkiness that is really attractive, especially in Pinot Noir. Along with this, the tannic structure may be increased. I find that young whole bunch reds often have a grippy, spicy tannic edge that can sometimes be confused with the structural presence of new oak. Frequently cited as a benefit of whole bunch is the enhanced aromatic expression of the wine, and it’s common to find an elevated, sappy green, floral edge to the pronounced fruity aromas which is really attractive. Freshness is another positive attribute associated with whole bunch. Done well, whole cluster can help make wines that are more elegant than their totally destemmed counterparts."
Many winemakers use some whole clusters but using 100% is a singular form of winemaking creating wine quite unlike anything else. This is because instead of being suspended in juice, until crushing the environment is essentially dry which means that the stems only have contact with grapes, not juice, limiting extraction. The Hermit Ram is a perfect example of this sort of winemaking - amazingly aromatic, muscular (without being heavy), grippy, sappy with sour red cherry and raspberry and a floral / herbal edge. This is extremely beautiful wine and a stunning example of North Canterbury terroir.