Te Mata Coleraine 1998 makes the back page of Decanter.
Well done John, Peter, Nick, et al!
Te Mata Coleraine 1998 makes the back page of Decanter.
Well done John, Peter, Nick, et al!
A brace of 98 point wines this month:
Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $$ – drink 2020-2024. Decanter rated this Exceptional / 98 points in their review of NZ Sauvignon Blanc in the August 2017 issue! My new fav wine shop sold out of this wine almost immediately, but I managed to get a couple from their repeat order.
I also read of a couple of others I’ll buy separately – Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc 2016 at 95 points and Wairau Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016 at 95 points also.
I also managed to collect a couple of Rhones – a bottle of 2003 Yann Chave Hermitage, and a 2003 Delas Hermitage Les Bessards, which I am looking forward to opening in due course.
Giesen Riesling Marlborough 2015 – $$
The queen of wines. 10% alc. Pale greenish straw. Off-medium sweet.
Sweetly aromatic – apples, melons, ripe green grapes, and licorice.
Sweet and very juicy foretaste. Mouthwatering. Fruity, apples again, and confectionery. Goes on and on.
Very moreish – a delicious wine.
Recommended 88 Points
Off Topic: Cave de Tain Premiére Note Marsanne Collines Rhodaniennes 2015 – $$
An offering from Michael at Wineseeker to offset the Marsanne I bought a wee while back that I found oxidised and unappetising. This is made in a fruitier and more approachable style, and should be a good reflection of the grape.
13% alc. Pale greenish gold colour.
Clean and clear aromas of golden stonefruit and clover honey. Bready. No oak.
Lean fruit up front. Fresh. A bitter note on the middle palate, and finishes with a strong apple flavour. Not a juicy wine – somewhat flat, leafy and short.
Commended 85 points
Grove Mill Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $
This was a label from the past. I used to drink this wine way back when, when I thought wine like this was alright. So when I saw this bottle I thought to revisit the past, and see if it was as good a wine as I remembered.
Sinewy citrus and stonefruit aromas, acidity, ever so slightly oxidised, with some secondary characters starting to emerge.
Lively fruit and acid on palate. Flavours of butterscotch. Mouthfilling creamy malo smoothness.
Fair 82 points
KH Fizz Kombucha with Ginger
A good friend from our ski club, KH, gave me some kombucha that she makes and sells from her home in Auckland. It was swappsies in return for some loose black tea I gave her from my new venture/side-hustle The Wellington Black Tea Company www.thewellingtonblackteacompany.co.nz.
Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drink that is commonly intended as a functional beverage for its supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). Kombucha has been promoted with claims that it can treat a wide variety of human illnesses, and people drink it for its many putative beneficial effects.
KH’s kombucha was absolutely delicious, and had a wonderful fizz to it. A sweet entry, but bone dry through the mid palate and finish. Nice ginger flavour. Yum!
This would go well with a touch of whiskey or bourbon.
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
From the great Hawkes Bay vintage. 14% alc. Bright gold colour.
Perfumed. Scents of butterscotch, apricots, citrus fruit, spice, hints of menthol and peppermint, honey and white roses.
Warm and rich attack, with a smooth mouthfeel through the middle. Great balance between acid and secondary fruit. Flavours of orange and orange peel oil. Long finish, crunchy with it; lively and mouthwatering.
A fine and complex wine, sophisticated, Burgundian. I really wish i had another bottle somewhere.
Outstanding 95 Points
From the Cellar: Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$
In good Pinot Noir, there is that distinctive catch at the back of the throat which is so typical of the wine varietal showing sufficient extraction, a little like the feeling I get when I think I am just coming down with a cold. This wine had that…
13.5% alc. Dark dusky browning carmine colour.
A difficult wine to assess at first. It opened up quite stinky, very savoury and overblown, but this gassed off after a while. Showed delicate and dusty dark cherry fruit aromas. Sweet and lifted oak notes, with the usual Central herbal terroir character edging the bouquet with thyme. Damp earth/heaped wet leaves.
Light and sweet fruit flavours on entry, a little thin. Although this impression might be because my red wine diet has been mostly restricted to Syrah and Shiraz this winter and I have lost the taste for a lighter style of red. Refreshing acidity on the middle palate, medium tannins, and quite persistent. The catch at the back of the throat I wrote about above.
Density and presence of nose informs every mouthful. It is what I love about good Pinot.
High Recommended 92 Points
Off Topic: Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Grand Classique Marsanne 2013 – $$$
13% alc. Golden colour.
What a shame. This wine was oxidised, and betrayed the light and aromatic fruit flavours the Marsanne grape should show. And a real shame for a special-occasion bottle costing over $30.
L called this one of my “stinky French whites”. Ugh.
Looking past the aroma, I saw thin fruit (natch), light nutty and biscuit flavours, less white peach than overripe/rotten apple. Slightly cooked. I emailed the wineseller and got a considered reply, and an offer of replacement, so all good there.
New Zealand’s greatest and most famous red wine?
This is the opinion of a few notable palates of the New Zealand wine scene, admittedly encouraged by the superb marketing efforts of the folks behind the winery itself, and this opinion is also shared by several overseas leading palates, namely Jamie Goode and Steven Spurrier.
I am quite partial to the wine myself, though my own palate can best be described as naïve. I was introduced to the ‘00 at a tasting of Te Mata wines back in ‘10, and was I entranced by its quality. I didn’t know a NZ wine would age so well! Actually, until that time, I had never thought of keeping a New Zealand wine any longer than the thirty minutes it took to get it home from the bottlestore. But life is learning, isn’t it?
Now, however, I am the proud owner of several vintages of Coleraine, all sleeping it off down in the Pool Room under the watchful gaze of kellarmausefanger Mimi until they hit the Witching Hour of ten years of age. The first cab off the rank will be the 2009. My cellar’s pride and joy is a magnum of Coleraine 2013 (ignoring its admitted rival, 750mls of Stonyridge Larose 2005. Plus a bunch of Rieslings. I could go on).
Geoff Kelly, an aficionado of aged wines, previously a wine judge, and one of the resident wine experts at Regional Wines and Spirits, organised this hugely important look at twelve of the best vintages of this great wine since its inception in 1982. There have been 31 vintages to date, with the 1992 and 1993 not being made due to the localised cool weather influenced by the Pinatubo volcanic eruption in Indonesia, and a later vintage (2011?) which was beset by rain. A large number of bottles had been collected over the years by the late founder of Regional Wines, Grant Jones, and Geoff contributed others to fill the holes. He consulted with Peter Cowley, Te Mata’s longtime winemaker, about what he thought the finest vintages were, and thus assembled a selection for tasting over two nights.
I attended the second helping.
Geoff provided an excellent set of introductory notes, which can be read via the link below, with his carefully considered reviews of the wines themselves. Spoiler alert!
Raymond Chan, another local wine reviewer and judge, also ex RW, and an expert whose writings I admire, and also a long-time fan of Coleraine, he attended the first sitting also. And his informative notes are below. Another spoiler alert!
My good friend GN was in attendance as well, as was a couple of MS members; cracking palates all, plus me, ha! But I’m still at the Bluffing Stage of public winetasting. Again, life is learning, isn’t it?
1982 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
1983 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
1989 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
1991 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
1995 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
1998 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2002 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2005 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2007 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2009 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2013 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
2015 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay
Interestingly, Te Mata Estate Coleraine Hawkes Bay 1998 was named a ‘Wine Legend’ in the August Issue of UK’s wine magazine Decanter, placing it amongst the greatest wines of all time. The only New Zealand wine to receive the title to date, Decanter’s profile situates Te Mata Estate’s flagship Coleraine beside other ‘Wine Legends’ at more than ten times its price. Hmm. I take this magazine, surface mail, and haven’t seen this issue yet. It will be interesting to sup that one, then.
Time to sniff and slurp. I won’t write up all twelve wines (I leave that weighty task to Geoff and Raymond), but will rather report on my highlights. The wines were served non-blind, in age order youngest to oldest, as 30ml pours.
The bouquet, as you would expect, showed evolution as the years progressed. Bright primary fruits to start with the later vintages, tending through secondary characters (cedar etc) in the 2000s, then landing on tertiary notes (tobacco ash etc) as the decades weighed in from the 90s and back. Colour tended bright deep pink carmine in the young wines, through to darker hues, and tending brick for the oldies.
2015 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – $140! OMFG – This was a great start to the tasting. If I can be presumptuous, the producers are making better wine the more goes they have at doing so, and this makes sense. The vines are getting older. And thus the ‘15 is winner in the making. Bright carmine colour. Sweet red and dark fruits on the nose. Sensitive. Breathy. Fresh fruit flavours. Fresh acidity. Great intensity and length. Bracing. Plush and lush, plumpness and balance. Three ticks.
2013 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – I have this in the Pool Room. It was a Lauded Vintage in the Bay. Bright carmine colour. More volatile than the ’15. A hint of spirit marker. Dark fruit. An impression of restrained power. There was power and crunch in the in the mouth also. Dense and packed with flavour. Some spice. Gorgeous and concentrated, fine, no oak showing. Fabulous. Three ticks.
2009 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Notable for the cassis showing, vanilla, and huge fruit profile. Hot on exit.
2007 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – I noted here floral, lifted, and tension. Baking spice. Elusive violets. Elegant, long and lean of finish. A special wine.
2005 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. A packed nose. Delightful. Cedar, chalk, dusty , and cassis. Good fruit on palate. A rich feel of the wine in my mouth. I saw neatness and harmony and symmetry. Long. Three ticks for this.
1995 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Dry and evolved, a light and leafy bouquet. Gorgeous fruit flavours again. Poised. I noted sweetness and freshness, length and persistence. A gorgeous wine. Three ticks for this too.
1991 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Evolved, with aromas of roses, spice, violets, cassis, cedar and blackcurrant jam. A lot going on here. Delicious, involving and mouthcoating. Someone called this a mature Claret. Drying a little. Harmonious. Three ticks again!
1982 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Most evolved, but still holding up with freshness and intensity of fruit belieing its age. An amazing 35YO New Zealand wine, and my Wine Of The Night because of this (beating out the ’91, ’05 and ’13).
My takeaway from this tasting had to be the pleasure in seeing how the bouquet evolved through the years. And how the wine colour changed. It was also interesting to see how the later vintages showed improvements that I can only put down to greater vine age and better vineyard/winery practice which has evolved over the years. Te Mata are making better Coleraines now than they did in the past, in my opinion.
This was a masterclass. Something you get vanishingly rarely with NZ wines. And this may well be the last public tasting of this breadth of Coleraines, until the winery itself opens its cellar at the next significant anniversary. Thanks Geoff, and thanks also to the late Grant Jones.