Wow this annual tasting rolled around fast. I invited along my mate MM who likes a drop.
New venue. No Coleraine (bad season), but the Bullnose Syrah was back.
We were welcomed by Nick Buck, CEO, on arrival, and got warmed up with these welcome wines during the initial mix’n’mingle:
Te Mata Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – typical HB version of this varietal – not as herbaceous as down south. Little winemaking artifice. 3
TMEV Chardonnay 2013 – Ripe grapefruit notes. 3
TMEV Gamay Noir 2013 – Fresh juicy fruit expression I recall most. Serve lightly chilled. 3+
TMEV Syrah 2013 – I liked this. Aromatic. Lightly spiced. Very young still (3 weeks in bottle!). Will cellar 3-5 years. 4
Te Mata Zara Viognier 2013 – very integrated wine, lovely, mouthfilling. Not as hot as previous versions. 4
Then it was on the main room for the formal seated tasting of two flights of four wines…
First flight – ‘07’s:
Cape Crest 2007 (Sauvignon Blanc)– Light straw. This was drinking superbly. Been a fav of mine for a while. One of the two best things they do I think…powerful nose, I see paint-thinner, but in a good way, and brand-new socks, weird…sweet and acidic and fresh to taste. Hint of vanilla from the eight months in French oak barrels, carraway seeds, any lime has mellowed. Additional of 13% semillon cuts through the directness of the sav. 5
Elston 2007 (Chardonnay)– Pale lemon colour. Smooth ripe nose, buttery, dry rolled oats. Peachy in the moth. Perfect level of maturity, lovely balance, ripe lemon, full-flavoured chardy. Burgundian style, full malo. 4+
Awatea 2007 (Cab Merlot Franc Petit Verdot) – dark magenta, browning on the rim. Notes of soap and boot polish, primanry fruit on the nose is fading. In the mouth I tasted preserved fruit, figs, prunes, and blackberries and cherries. Herby also. Structured tannins. It is mature and dry-ish, but holding on well. 4
Bullnose 2007 (Syrah) – dark ruby, browning on the rim. Attractive red berry, pepper and muscovado sugar flavours, with allspice and cinnamon. Not as structured as the Awatea, as you would expect. Lovely easy drinking. Dark caramel toffee at the finish. 4.
Second flight – ‘12’s
It was easy to see the difference in the development between the two sets of wine…
Cape Crest 2012 – Pale green. Only 9% semillon this time around. Fresh gooseberry – typical NZ savvy, hint of pencil shavings. Salty taste, with fresh fruit and refined tomato stalk flavours. Needs to settle down. The structure will let it sleep a while. 4
Elston 2012 – Pale lemon colour. Not so nose-y this version. Toasty background . Complex in mouth, dense weight and balance. Acid rush, cleans out the mouth, good with food I think. Should age 5 years. 4
Awatea 2012 – this is where I got distracted by a ‘fresh box’ smell I was getting off the glasses that were used in the tasting. I couldn’t see much past this when smelling the wine. In the mouth it was grippy, with cherries and choc. Not so enamoured with this one. 3
Bullnose 2012 – MORE FRESH BOX. Soapy, grippy, fruity. Not much to go on. A disappointing way to finish. I’d rather drink the cheaper Estate version, thanks. 3
Of the lot, the Cape Crest shone through, and the Elston. The reds were not so good this time in comparison.
Fast forward to the 2015 Showcase when we’ll get to try the potentially great ’13’s…
PS Congrats to Alistair from Regional Wines for being appointed as a Director of Te Mata. Please keep the prices down, Alistair.