Elephant Hill Viognier Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$
13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.
Nose of spice, licorice allsorts, and ripe luscious golden stonefruit and melon. Cheery and fine.
Sweet and dense in the mouth, rich fruit. Long luscious honeyed finish. Flavours of pear and navel orange. Peppery and gritty in character and texture.
Recommended 88 points
L and I and the fam had a week’s break in Havelock North in the heart of Hawkes Bay wine country. In between swimming, tennis-playing, cycling, and tractor-riding to the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, we enjoyed the sun and views and a few local wines…
Clearview Estate Winery Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2015 -13% straw
Sweet tropical nose, mild grass and acidity, clover Restrained acidity in mouth sweet ripe flavours luscious fine mouthfeel finishes sweet and lively. Main impression is sweetness. 89 points
Rod McDonald Wines Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – 13.5% pale brilliant gold Clear and crisp nose. Lemon. Peach. Iinear. Minerally. Salty. Spicyfg Lean. Simple. Linear, Citrus. Refreshing. Long. 90 points
Elephant Hill Le Phant Te Awanga 2014 – A Merlot-predominant blend with 26% Syrah and 13% Cab Sav. Perfumed and smoky, blackcurrants, brown paper, sweet on the nose. Evocative. I keep returning to sniff. Sweet and grippy, the wine opens up to show supple tannins, dark plums and berries, vanilla, smoky oak, & spicy finish, really moreish and very good. A very distinctive blend. 95 points
Spencer Hill Estate Latitude 41 Moutere Chardonnay Nelson 2015 – 12.5% pale gold. A variation from the Hawkes Bay theme… Oaky vanilla, buttery & rich. A developed golden stone fruit bouquet. Full of flavour on attack. Great line of citrus balanced with ripe fruit. Creamy Complexity on palate that is very appealing. 92 points
Elephant Hill Syrah Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$
Deep dark carmine. 13.5% alc.
A big, rich and expressive aroma. Plums, savoury with vanilla and white pepper, balsa wood and spice, and a hint of funk.
The flavours show sweet on entry, with rich dark fruit through themed-palate and supple tannins with just enough grip to balance the floral nose, and heat and length at the finish.
This is such a good wine I can really see the kinship this grape has with Pinot Noir. A heady nose paired with a feminine quality on the palate. Sophisticated, delicate fruit with a good core of weight.
Highly Recommended – 93 points
Craggy Range SV Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$
I reckon that the 2014 vintage in the Bay was just as good for Chardonnay as the much-heralded 2013 vintage. And this wine is a good reference point for that claim.
Medium brilliant straw colour. 13% alc. From Te Awanga near Cape Kidnappers.
Toasty oak and mealy aromas. Ripe golden stonefruit. Good density. Elegance and lightness of touch.
Plenty of ripe fruit flavours, extract and sweetness on entry. The citrus freshness you need to see in a good modern oaked Chardonnay is balanced and provides the necessary structure on the mid-palate to avoid flabbiness and bland-ness. Good length in the finish, and no bitterness that might indicate a lack of extract. A delicious and rewarding drop.
Clearview Te Awanga Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$
Pale gold colour. 14% alc.
Perfumed and floral white blossoms, oatmeal and aniseed.
To taste, the wine is fresh, layered and elegant, taut and rich. The malo is very well balanced with citrus. Quite an acidic and minerally finish. Mouthwatering.
It reminded me a little of that Corton Charlemagne GC I tasted a little while back. Very good, that.