The Framingham label was launched in 1994 with one Riesling, and has since expanded to include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Framingham produces wines from their 19.5 hectare estate vineyard (certified organic since 2014) and other selected sites. Their Riesling vines, planted in 1981, are among the oldest in Marlborough.
Winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley joined Framingham in 2001, bringing with him an obsession with – and a reputation for – making great Riesling. Indeed, Jancis Robinson MW hails Andrew as “one of the most skilled practitioners of Riesling anywhere in the world”.
Framingham’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is very different in style to the others on our list. This is due to % of the grapes undergoing fermentation on skins, 11% of the blend going through fermentation in oak and acacia barrels and the entire blend spending six months on lees
in order to acquire extra layers of flavour and texture. Their hand-picked Pinot Gris, inspired by the wines of Alsace, is harvested later than their other varieties and spends seven months on its lees, which gives a wine that offers generous baked apple, quince and cream flavours. The Pinot Noir is blended from 16 base wines made from seven different Wairau Valley sites, including the estate vineyard. It is an elegant style with flavours of summer fruit compote and smoky oak. As wine writer Jamie Goode says, “Framingham’s regular range offers some of New Zealand’s best value for money.”
These wines offer alternative takes on the varieties within the core Framingham range – staying true to their style, but with room for innovation. A strictly limited edition, the F-Series allows Andrew and his team the flexibility to experiment with winemaking techniques and create small batch wines that capture the essence of each vintage, resulting in some of Marlborough’s most exciting wines.
The F-Series Old Vine Riesling is where Andrew’s passion really comes to the fore. The fruit, carefully selected from 35-year-old vines, is gently pressed and undergoes wild fermentation. 12% of the wine is fermented in old oak for more texture and complexity, while the entire blend spends nine months on gross lees. With 20% fermentation on skins, in a combination of 20% acacia puncheons and 50% aged French oak barrels, the F-Series Sauvignon Blanc has a uniquely earthy and mineral flavour profile. These are wholly individual wines of great personality.