Alsace – an area of north-east France famous for its aromatic white wines – Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, from dry right through to the sweet ‘Vendange Tardive’ wines. These are the wines that inspire our winemaking for our Pioneer Pinot Gris and Pioneer Gewurztraminer.
Barrique – French word for a 224-litre barrel, the most commonly used oak barrels in our winemaking. We purchase from six different French coopers and use different barrels depending on the style of wine we are making.
Chardonnay – perhaps the best-known white grape variety and grown everywhere from Australia to California to Burgundy and NZ and many places in between. Lawson’s Dry Hills makes two styles, one without obvious oak influence (the Estate) and one that is barrel-fermented – our Reserve Chardonnay.
Decant – wine (red) only really needs decanting if it has sediment in the bottom of the bottle, and you clearly don’t want this ending up in people’s glasses! You can decant if you want of course, and some people like the theatre and enjoy having a decanter on the table instead of a bottle. It is said to open up the wine too, by exposing it to more air – but pouring a glass from the bottle is often enough aeration to do this.
Egg-fermenters – you might have heard of these. Some winemakers use them as they provide a smooth, continuous surface which allows the wine to move more freely during fermentation than it would in a traditional barrel or tank. This constant movement encourages complex flavours to develop through continuous contact with lees (much like batonnage when you stir up the yeasty sludge in the bottom!).
Fermentation – this is when grape juice is turned into wine, through the action of yeast turning the natural grape sugars into alcohol. The riper the grapes, the more potential alcohol, but that’s not always a good thing as great wine is all about balance. Wines from Lawson’s Dry Hills are, for the most part, between 12.5% and 14%.
Grapes – there are about 10,000 different grapes varieties that can be used in winemaking! Only a few dozen are widely used for the majority of global production though. We grow and make Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir.