Blast from the Past: What’s in, April 24th

Sacred Hill Riflemen 2007

From the cellar: Sacred Hill Riflemans Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 – $$$

Please indulge me: BITD a bottle of this ignited my passion for New Zealand wine.

In ’08 I was still married, and it was my task to do the weekly grocery shop, and buy the week’s wine. My wife and I were both earning more at work and could afford to look a little higher up the shelves when choosing what to drink. I was also starting to read a bit about wine, and follow wine reviews in the paper and The Listener.

We both preferred chardonnay, and I’d read in Cuisine the top review this wine received.  I built up the nerve to spend what was then a fortune on a single bottle ($49), when I was used to thinking that $18 was extravagant. I opened it at home that night and It. Was. A. Revelation. Wow. I still remember that bottle.

So, two years ago two bottles came up for auction. I bought the pair for $100. I tested the first bottle for poison the night of the auction…

…and here is the second. Still with it’s auction tag on.

I’d been saving the bottle for a proper occasion. Last night was the first time I had spent time with L in what seemed like ages, so I thought it would be a good match with her beautiful company.

This is Sacred Hill’s premium chardonnay, made only in good years. Hand picked. Whole-bunch pressed. Wild yeasts. Tony Bish hasn’t made one since ’10. I pick this year will be legendary.

The ’07 Riflemans delivered. Pale straw. Elegant nose, lifted & pure. Refined in the mouth, not a big wine, but had real depth. Restrained fruit evident now, tasting of peaches, biscuits, honey, vanilla; secondary notes of age complexity starting to show, but not yet detracting. A lovely glass.

Like all the good bottles, it had a hole in the bottom, and disappeared too quickly!


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