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.
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.