Straight to the Pool Room – May 2014

Pool Room May 2014

Firstly, a brace of sub-$20 Chardonnays from the great 2013 Hawkes Bay vintage:

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $ – Nothing special, just a value drop that would appreciate a lie-down for a couple of years – drink 2016/2017

Then a couple of stickies that L won in a raffle:

Beach House Hawkes Bay Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2009$$$ – from a Te Awanga vineyard; a gold medal winner – drink 2014 – 2029

An interesting story about the wine from the producer’s website:

“Every cloud has a silver lining”. This is especially true of this wine. Rain at the end of February (that had us all worried) established a Botrytis infection in this young block of Sauvignon Blanc. The Grower was unable to sell it as a traditional dry table wine and it hung unsold until the middle of May. The green berries ripened to 29 Brix and a perfect botrytis infection developed with absolutely no ignoble rot. We have never seen before, and will probably never see again, such perfect botrytis.

The fruit was picked at 40 Brix. The resulting wine is flawless.

The nose is concentrated and floral with pure aromas of apricot, fig, quince and nectarine while the oak provides structure and gives a hint of vanilla and French toast. The wine has amazing balance and purity and is a favourite among ‘sticky’ aficionados. Winemaker – Chris Harrison gives this wine a lifetime guarantee and expects people will still be enjoying it in 50 years’ time. Assuming he hides a few cases in his cellar!

What’s in the glass tonight May 27th

Mission Estate HB Chardonnay 2013

2013 Cheap Chardys: Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $

I recall early last year listening to Nick Buck at the 2013 Te Mata showcase telling us attendees how good the 2013 Hawkes Bay vintage was looking. Commentators since have been saying the same thing:

“Some are calling the Hawke’s Bay wine vintage of 2013 the best ever, a once-in-a-lifetime vintage created by an exceptional summer. Roger Moroney asked Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association chairman Nicholas Buck what the stunning vintage meant to the wine industry and the region. Buck says, “The 2013 wine growing season is certainly a 10 out of 10 vintage for Hawke’s Bay. The long, dry, settled summer provided ideal conditions and 2013 will undoubtedly produce some of the greatest wines in Hawke’s Bay’s wine history.”

“For Tim Turvey of Clearview Estate Winery, this was the best vintage in his 30 years of winemaking. “2013 will be the Hawke’s Bay vintage of the century; it’s been perfect across all varieties.”

Tony Bish of Sacred Hill makes the same claim for his 32 years’ winemaking in New Zealand. He believes the 2013 vintage will be one that “people drink and talk about for the next 20 years.. the ‘best in living memory… the stuff legends are made of’..”

“Overall, the wines that will be rolling out in two to four years’ time will have people talking about Hawke’s Bay, and our suitability for producing later ripening reds and chardonnays, for years. It’s going to be good for wine drinkers who will be accessing better wines across the board,” says McDonald.”

So, hencely, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the ‘13s to arrive on the shelves.

However, I think it’s easy to imagine that the top wines will be good. Hell, they are often great in average years. So how about the sub-$20 drops? Will this top vintage improve some of them to the point that they could be collected in bulk, and stored for later, and for longer, and provide more rewarding enjoyment, for mere pennies? I’m going to take a good look at this category over the next few months, starting with this supermarket standard…

13%. Light yellow. Fresh nose of peaches and apricots, with a citrus zing. In the mouth the wine exhibits a light body, with freshness and ripe fruit, but shows enough austerity and acidity to give it a nice character. It’s not a fruit bomb, nor a butterball, and that’s good.

It’s a keeper. 3+

The quotes above have come via Hawkes Bay Today, The New Zealand Herald, and Thanks and hat tip.

What’s in the glass tonight June 18th

Mission Estate HB Chardonnay 2008

From the cellar: Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008 – $

The Mission Estate in the Hawkes Bay claims to be one of the oldest vineyards in New Zealand. It was established as a Marist Community in 1851, with vines planted in 1855 for producing sacrament wine. It is one of the Bay’s volume producers, and is well represented on the supermarket shelves. Don’t know if it is still held by the Church.

The wine I am having tonight – the bottom tier ‘estate’ label – is often on special in the low $ teens. It’s generally a good daily drop, so if I see it heavily reduced I often will buy a few bottles for the Pool Room. This is one of those…

…Pale gold. A waft of phenolics, but this dissipated quickly. Usual suspects of peach and apricot notes on the nose. To taste it is mouthfilling and rich, with apricots again; not too heavy, oaky, and with vanilla. It’s a mid-weight wine, and is showing the age. The years add interesting depth and character. But it is as mature as I should let it get – past this date the acid and fruit would increasingly give way to the oak which would then show through as bitterness.

Not everyone’s choice, but I like it ok. The label could do with a birthday, and channel the whole Bordeaux histoire thing. 3.

What’s in the glass tonight May 13th

Mission HB Syrah 2012

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012 – $$

A dependable winter performer for  low $.

Dark crimson looking at me. Light bouquet of dark berries. The wine is fruit-filled to taste, but lacking a touch of ripeness (it was a tough season), with allspice, pepper and hint of aniseed. Soft and fine.


What was in the glass last night May 9th

Mission Merlot 2010

Mission Estate Merlot 2010 – $$

L brought the bottle over to mine, and we drank it with fantastic Island bay Butchery porterhouse steaks, potatoes, peas and corn on the cob. Simple food, rich wine.

It was deep dark red, almost black in colour. It had been opened the previous day, with one glass out of it. Smelled quite funky, with forest floor, mushroom and, dare I say it, some oyster shellfish notes? Odd, but not bad.

On palate it was forward, with some rich fruit and medium tannins. Quite savoury.  It was very interesting to see the unusual development of this wine.