'The Abyss' 2010 Pinot Noir


The ABYSS block is named for its remarkable geography. Sitting at 200 metres altitude the vines run down a gentle 14% northeast facing slope that finishes abruptly in a steep drop to theOmakaRiver. The 50m cliff face distinctly shows the clay/Loess soil profile that has such a profound effect on the wines grown here. This part of the vineyard not only has the best exposure to the sun it also benefits from 17% clay subsoil.  In aspect, altitude and soil type it bares many similarities to some of the best Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy. This exceptional terroir has our oldest vines with very deep roots producing deep character full wines. The Abyss is 2.2 ha, this wine is selected from the best barrels of this climate in 2010.

2010 was an excellent growing season for Churton Pinot Noir. A slow onset to flowering meant that crops were limited. Fortunately flowering finished very quickly this resulted in very uniform bunch and berry size. Warm, very dry weather throughout January and February ensured sufficient ‘stress’ in the vineyard, allowing for good tannin polymerization and lignifications of seeds. This also kept the berry size down allowing for small concentrated berries.   From veraison in early February through to harvest the weather was warm and dry with ideal ripening conditions. The finish of the season was superb another wonderful Indian summer. Nights were slightly warmer than usual which has resulted in wines with lower acidity than previous years. Picking started a little later than normal on 29th March. The Abyss was picked in three tranches on 29th March then again on 2nd and 3rd April. Yields were low at 30hl/ha.


Downloadable Tasting Notes

Churton The Abyss PN 2010 Fact Sheet A4


The Abyss winemaking is very similar to all Churton pinot making. Hand picked grapes are transported in small 12kg bins to the winery. This prevents any crushing of fruit. The bunches are de-stemmed only to retain maximum whole berries. We go to great lengths to sort both the bunches and then the de-stemmed fruit to ensure only clean fruit with no fragments of stem enter the tank. A cool soak of 7 days is followed by a fast warm indigenous yeast ferment of five days. Then the crucial part is a long warm post ferment maceration in 2010 The ABYSS this was for 18 days. The free run wine was then filled to barrels 40% new and balance older fine grained French Oak barrels. A natural malo-lactic fermentation takes place in spring. The best barrels were selected racked once prior to vintage blended and then returned to barrel. After 16 months barrel ageing the wine was bottled without filtration.


Wine Analysis

Alcohol 13.0
Titratable Acidity 4.8g/l
Residual grape sugar
pH 3.8

Tasting Notes

Complex and deep, this wine exhibits aromatic Musk Rose with an elegant fruit core of dark cherries layered with elements of spice, savouriness and classic Churton earthiness.  It’s a poised, delicate wine that unfolds layers of flavour with a long structured finish and fine savoury tannins that will ensure that it develops well in bottle.



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