The grapes to produce Pinot Noir Rockburn were cool macerated for between five to seven days, prior to fermentation which took place in seven tonne fermenters and lasted for one week, with daily plunging. Post-fermentation maceration lasted between seven and 14 days, in order to extract the desired levels of colour, tannins and aromatics. Some batches included whole bunches, adding complexity. Pinot Noir Rockburn was barrel aged for 10 months in 100% French oak, of which 35% was new; 18% was one year old and 47% was two years old.
Rockburn takes its name from the rugged, rock-strewn, burn scarred landscape of Central Otago. Situated on the 45th parallel, Rockburn shares a climate that is similar to Burgundy. The vineyards are surrounded by mountains to the west, whose seaward slopes are rainforest, receiving 5,000mm of rain per annum. To the east is a barren, moon-like landscape that receives less than 25mm rain per year. Situated between these extremes, lay the Rockburn vineyards, which are producing Pinot Noir of stunning quality. The vines are grown in two sites: Parkburn where the soil is loam over river gravel; and Gibbston, with topsoil over alluvial gravel soils. The vines are Pinot Noir clones: 10/5, 5,6, Abel, 667 and 777 and they are trained according to the Vertical Shoot Positioning system.
Rockburn started as the hobby of Richard Bunton in 1991. He planted a few hectares of vineyard in the then pretty much unknown area of Central Otago. In 2005, Malcolm Francis the winemaker, arrived from Felton Road where his skills immediately reaped the rewards when he won the Elite Gold Medal. This is a very exciting new arrival on the world Pinot Noir stage.