Te Mata Showcase Release March 2015

Te Mata showcase 2015

Richard Sheriff of Regional Wines, Wellington, organised a showcase tasting of Te Mata’s latest release wines including the much heralded 2013 Coleraine (according to Yvonne Lorkin, “this wine will change your life!”) to be hosted by Te Mata CEO Nicholas Buck.

I bought tickets for Land I, apparently first in the queue. I was determined not to miss out on this.

Regional’s usual suspects were in attendance. Their infamous raked-back chairs claimed a fresh victim who arrived last, sat down in a rush, and promptly tipped over backwards and sent his wine glasses tumbling when his feet hit the underside of the table! And he hadn’t even started drinking…

With that excitement behind us, we enjoyed a welcome glass of Te Mata Estate Sav Blanc and Nick ran through a summary of the two vintages we were to review – 2013 and 2014.

Vintage 2013 was absolutely tremendous, reportedly a vintage of a lifetime/once-in-30-years vintage etc. Great growing conditions, good even heat, optimally harvest weather, intensity and high yields.

Vintage 2014 was characterised as very early and very good. Nick Buck called the two years the “Celestial twins”…

Te Mata Estate is family-owned, and was established in 1896. The present proprietors the Buck and Morris families purchased the original property in 1974. They have expanded operations within southern Hawkes Bay since and the estate now comprises the original vineyards on the side of Te Mata peak in the Havelock Hills, the Woodthorpe Terraces beside the Tutaekuri river, and vineyards within the Bridge Pa Triangle east of Hastings – an appellation of sorts in it’s own right.

The Tasting

Te Mata Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – 13% – I really like the Savs these guys are shipping out of the Te Mata and Bridge Pa Triangle districts. Bright pale straw. Elegant restrained nose. Fresh and clean and fruity sav, measured acidity, concentrated. Dry, no residual sugar. Some say Sancerre-like. Cracking early drinking! 4

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay 2014 – 13.5% – Pale gold. 50% malo, 9 mths in barrel. Beautiful nose – complex, warm, and mealy with  oak and vanilla – yum. Flavours of white peach, lemon citrus, great fruit weight. A young wine, only just bottled, but layered already. 4

Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir 2014 – 13% – Crimson. L loved this. Odd nose of pipe tobbaco, cigarettes and old smoker (perhaps a residue of carbonic maceration), leavened with red berries and lollies. Palate of light red fruits, lively freshness, nice burst of acidity at the finish. 3+

Te Mata Estate Syrah 2014 – 13% – Purple red. A touch of Viognier in the blend. Strong bouquet of baking spices – quite lovely. Ripe red fruits to taste, cinnamon furry tannins, white pepper. A light young wine off 12 year vines. 3

Te Mata Estate Merlot Cabernets 2013 – 13.5% – Dark magenta. Merlot dominant – notes of coffee and choc aromas. Leggy. Flavours of plums. Complex, rich and warm, softened with a little bottle age. Good fruit concentration, dense & long. Absolutely delicious. 4+

Te Mata Estate Zara Viognier 2014 – 14% – Bright gold. Sweet ripe golden fruit, perfumed, notes of soft pears, pear tree blossom, crystalised ginger.  Dry in the mouth, savoury, oily quality, good weight, saline finish. I was told it works well with artichokes. 4

Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – 14% – Bright white. Off 35yr vines, low cropping, barrel fermented. Truly outstanding. Elegant, dense nose. Great concentration. Floral, I smell white flowers, fresh apples, oak-softened fruit aromas. In the mouth I sense ripeness, purity and great expression. Fresh crisp concentrated fruit on initial attack, and a perfect finish of acidity and length. Long-lived. 5

Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – 14% – Bright lemon-gold. 100% malo, Mendoza clone grapes. Clean and linear on the nose. Refined. Not a shouter. Really ripe and rich and concentrated tastes, good weight, fresh citrus characters and nougat. It is currently holding back, and will open up over time. Delicious. 4+

Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah 2013 – 13% – Magenta. I thought this had a real Rhone nose. And that’s all I need, really. Soft red berry fruits, floral aromatics, spice and a little white pepper. Light red fruit on palate, with ripeness, soft tannins and suppleness. A very nice wine.  4

Te Mata Estate Awatea Cabernets Merlot 2013 – 13.5% – Deep crimson. Note as bold a nose as the Estate wine, restrained dark plum fruits, choc and coffee, but it does build as I nose the glass over time, and shows a lovely degree of complexity. Gorgeous blackberries and plum flavours – quite a sweet attack. Tobacco and mint. Racy tannins. Long. Drying finish. Stellar. 4+

Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2013 – 13.5% – Ark, dark crimson. This isd a huge quality wine. I can’t describe it and do it justice. There is density and purity and red roses and richness and concentration and so much deep fruit and tannin attack…I best leave it to the expert at Regional Wines, “and we can see the immense quality in the ’13 Coleraine. The nose is full of sweet red fruits – plums, red and black currants, cassis, and the sweet basil and cigar smoke. I find wines like this hard to describe, as they are nuanced, but with great depth of flavour. The wine changed throughout the night as well –having been poured 2 hours before tasting, it showed what a little air can do to the wine”. 5

And there you have it. I put in orders for the Elston, Cape Crest, Zara, Gamay and the Coleraine.

Te Tasting – Te Mata Estate Showcase 2013.

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Coleraine – The One. Wednesday 6th March St James Theatre

The Regional Wines blurb sez: Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine is this country’s most consistently reliable cellar-worthy wine with vintages from the 1980s still drinking superbly. This reliability is one of the reasons that the annual release of Coleraine and Awatea is so eagerly awaited by wine lovers.

There is a real treat at the Showcase this year. We will be tasting the new release 2011 Coleraine alongside the 2001 and 1991 vintages demonstrating, if any was needed, how well Coleraine ages. We will also be presenting the 2011 Awatea, Cape Crest, Zara Viognier as well as the newly released Estate wines.

This must be my 4th annual Te Mata tasting.  I am a creature of habit. But then again, I got to try a 10-yr  old Coleraine at the very first one, and it totally turned me on to old brown red wine…

And John Buck’s house, the Te Mata founder, is pictured above as my main blog photo.

At the door we were offered four wines:

Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – notes of melons, green capsicum, tomato stalk; long, crisp and fresh with limes

Estate Chardonnay 2011 – nuts, toast, peaches, creamy malo.

Estate Gamay Noir – 2012 – light, savoury, black fruits.

Estate Merlot Cabernets 2010 – dark ruby colour, fresh blackberry and ripe plums, lovely florals and vanilla, long and dark chocolatey – yum

For the formal sit-down tasting we were offered:

Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – 86% sauv blanc, with balance semillon and sauvignon gris – one of Te Mata’s signature wines – 3mths in bottle; pale yellow green; bouquet of sun cut vines, vanilla from the French oak, beeswax?; tastes of limes and pear and sea salt; dry, long, with good acidity; 9 mths of lees contact adds texture. Age-worthy.

Zara Viognier 2011 – a good one this – smells of sponge cake; tastes of Turkish delight and honey and apricots; oily; long peppery finish; would be great drunk with jerk chicken.

Elston Chardonnay 2011 – strong strong manuka honey aroma; rich 100% malo; the honey masks peaches and mealiness; there is some minerality evident. Age-worthy.

Awatea Cabernet Merlot 2011 – probably the least performer here – tight, closed, light aromatics, needs time to open up; fine tannins; blackcurrant, blackberry. Some length.

Then the Bordeaux-blend big guns:

Coleraine 1991 – well brown this; nougat, toffee, butterscotch, old leather, old roses; in the Bordeaux style; dark choc, less fruit, dry tannins – yum yum

Coleraine 2001 – smells of doctors and dentists surgeries (in a nice way); deep browning crimson; dark chocolate and plums and coffee; still tannic, with fruit still evident.

Coleraine 2011 – deep crimson; lively and intense; smells of blackberries and almonds; long tannins and yes, dark choc. Needs time in bottle, or some decanting. Again age-worthy definitely.

A good night; pity no Bullnose Syrah at the tasting; too little production, we have to hope for next year.

Nick Buck was excited about the upcoming vintage. Picking starts tomorrow. Lets see what turns up at the tasting in 2015!