Bubbles for Selwyn summer

by Kent Caddick

Melton Estate is putting the bubbles into Selwyn this summer with the launch of the West Melton winery’s first ever champagne style méthode traditionelle sparkling wine.

Champagne is the most recognised variety of méthode traditionelle but the term is only used to refer to the wine which actually comes from the Champagne district of France. 

Melton Estate owners Philip and Tracy Caunter will this week release Meltonia, a méthode traditionelle made from grapes grown on their West Melton vineyard.

“The middle block of our vineyard was set up as a ‘champagne’ block in that it has Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes which make up a methode wine and it has been something we have always wanted to do,” Mr Caunter said.

“We have seen in recent times a market shift, with people looking for a wine of this type and there are now a growing number of champagne style bubbly wines on the market.

“Also we have a strong following for our Summer Love wine, a sparkling Riesling, which has been produced since 2008.”

Mr Caunter said they haven’t had to change much on the vineyard to gear up for the production of the new wine. 

“The actual grape growing of a methode is much the same as any grape growing. In fact it is a little easier as you are picking the grapes earlier, and the fruit was hand-picked by friends and family. However, it is a slightly more complex wine making process.”

Firstly the grapes from Melton Estate’s 2015 vintage were picked and were gently pressed before a short ferment in stainless steel tanks at the vineyard.

The ‘bubbly base’ wine was then sent to Allan Scott Wines in Blenheim for a second fermentation period and bottling.

“The wine was stored in wooden crates for 23 months before riddling and disgorging, which is how they finally cork and cage the bottle,” Mr Caunter said.

Meltonia will be available from the Melton Estate vineyard 
in West Melton

“Dosage trials were completed by the winery and ourselves, our favourite was selected and now Meltonia is ready to enjoy.”

He said they are very happy with the finished product.

“We think this is a great thing for the Selwyn district and already the tourism sector has responded positively.

“I think it shows we are trying our hardest and putting ourselves out there. We now have eight different wines which come out of the vineyard in West Melton showing that Selwyn is a great place to visit.”

While it is a limited release Meltonia will be available from the vineyard and also in supermarkets.

“We now have around 30 outlets in Christchurch selling our wine, including New World, and it is also available on our website.”