Fantastic sparkling wine has always been an important part of our winemaking at Nautilus Estate, winning many awards and trophies. Making sparkling wines is a more complex process than traditional still wines but one that we have learned a lot about over the years. One of the distinguishing characteristics of our renowned Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV is that it is a Pinot Noir dominant blend (the balance is Chardonnay). In 2003 we planted new Dijon clone Pinot Noir (115 & 777) in one of our estate vineyards that we felt was well suited to growing sparkling wine. The naturally fruity character of the resulting base wine got us thinking about a 100% Pinot Noir Cuvée Rosé. After a number of trials we laid down our first tirage in September 2011 and Nautilus Vintage Rosé was born.
To make this wine, Clone 115 Pinot Noir grapes are hand-picked & chilled overnight. The next morning the grapes are de-stemmed prior to pressing to allow the release of a small amount of colour from the skins. The lightly pink coloured juice is fermented to dryness & left on yeast lees until it undergoes full malolactic fermentation. After bottling in September for the secondary fermentation, this single vineyard vintage wine is matured in its yeast lees for 30 months in the traditional manner.
The initial releases were disgorged after 24 months on yeast lees to give a balance of pretty fruity notes and brioche characters. In tasting the wine as it matured we felt there was an opportunity to allow a little more maturation and also allow some more time on cork before release. The latest release, vintage 2014, now has 30 months on yeast lees and close to 6 months on cork before release. We think the wine is benefiting from this extra time and now tastes even better!