What’s in the glass tonight July 16th – Chardonnay


Te Mata Chardonnay 2016

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2016  – $$

13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.

Light and citrusy nose. Sweet. Hints of apple, white peach

Sweet entry, with medium fruit weight through the middle palate. Finely textured also, with a refreshing line of acid throughout, extending  to a long finish.

This wine can be available for as little as $18 a bottle, so great value for it.

Recommended 88 points

Hawkes Bay Winery Visits


esk-2

The Terraces, Esk Valley, Hawkes Bay

Coming back from our Lake Waikaraemoana tramping trip, and passing through Hawkes Bay, I was super-fortunate to have the time and space to visit a number of my very favourite NZ wine producers with my lovely L.

Esk Valley

Esk Valley was first up. Esk Valley is situated beside the coast at Bay View north of Napier. Behind the winery were the famous Terraces, facing north and the sea, first terraced and planted by owner Robert Bird with hybrid wines in the 1940s. Low yields and high production costs saw those pulled out and the hillside planted in pines.

Pine tree cones make poor wine so when George Fistonich of Villa Maria bought the property in 1989, the pines were in turn pulled out, and plantings of cabernets, merlot and malbec vines were dug in. Cabernet Savignon proved hard to ripen consistently at this cool coastal location, so those vines were pulled out in the mid-90’s and replaced with more Merlot and Malbec vines.

esk-1

L and I tasted through a range of their standard wines – Savvy, Chardy, Rose, Pinot Gris, Syrah – then we paid a $10 fee to try the Terraces 2014 blend in a separate room. This was presaged by tastings of the standard 2015 Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec blend (a go-to red of mine), then the $60 Winemakers Reserve of the same blend (delicious, complex, aromatic). The Terraces was powerful and refined, with a wonderful aroma. Enough for me to invest in a bottle.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

elephant-1

Eponymous elephant at Elephant Hill

Elephant Hill

A lot of money has been spent establishing Elephant Hill, starting with situating a very impressive bronze elephant before a huge copper-clad winery. The tasting room is one of NZ’s finest, with a high-cuisine kitchen attached, and a sunny terrace out from.

elephant-2

We tasted through their wines, before settling down to a nice Chardonnay and Gris with a cheese platter. And I bought a bottle of their top rated syrah, the Airavata from 2013.

elephant-hill-syrah-2015

I like their wine so much, that later in town I had another glass of their delicious standard Syrah at the stylish café Bistronomy while L had her feet pedicured after the big hike…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


te-mata-1

Buck House, Te Mata Estate

Te Mata Estate

The next day we went out for a bike ride, intending to head from Clive up to the top of Te Mata Peak. We were running a bit short of time, and were waylaid by the tasting room at Te Mata Estate instead.

te-mata-2

I didn’t need much persuading: anyone who reads my blog knows I really rate these guys work. We tried the latest Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc, Elston Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Bullnose Syrah, and Awatea red blend. We couldn’t carry anything on our bikes, so we left with our bank accounts intact.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Clearview

clearview-malbec

Our time riding was short due to a lunch date at the famous Clearview Estate vineyard café. It was packed. We settled in, ordered our starters and our mains, before heading to the tasting room. We tried their large range of wines, and listened to a very funny and engaged hostess shared information and gags in equal measure. I was even treated to a taste of their $150 Basket Press red blend. For lunch I had to have a glass of their Semillon (quite rare to see a NZ version for sale by the glass), and then their Malbec to go with my steak. Both were yum.

I am so privileged.

What’s in the glass tonight November 13th – Sauvignon Blanc


te-mata-cape-crest-2011

From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$

Pale greenish gold. 13.5% alc.

This is consistently one of NZ’s finest wines, for the past half-dozen vintages at least. It is hard to approach tasting this wine dispassionately…

Sweet on the nose, aromatic and complex, with tropical notes of apples, gooseberries and ginger.

Flavours of ginger on the palate, apples and citrus. An excellent lightness of touch, a Hawkes Bay savvy that is softening agreeably, with oak complexity. Lots of fruit. Really splendid.

95 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 14th – Viognier


te-mata-estate-zara-2014

From the Cellar: Te Mata Zara Viognier Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$

Purchased a year ago at an industry tasting. Not kept for very long cos L wanted a Viognier, and I had maybe two bottles in the Pool Room…it is not a wine I collect. Call it fashion, call it my own taste…

Brilliant medium gold colour. 14% alc.

A smoky and spicy and dense bouquet, with ripe enveloping apple scents.

Rich flavours on attack. Ripe, sinewy also, with a silky texture on the mid-palate. Flavours of cooked apples and figs. Oily and mouthcoating. A long hot and spicy finish, with white pepper and cashews. This was good.

89 points

Straight to the Pool Room – August 2016


Pool Room Aug 2016

More whites – a sister for the Savvy I bought last month, and a brace of Chardonnays that were highly regarded by the tasting panel at Dish Magazine earlier this year…

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2024.

Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$ – Drink 2018-2020.

 

Straight to the Pool Room – July 2016


Pool Room July 2016

A trois of aromatics this month:

Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir Martinborough 2014 – $$$+ – Drink 2019-2024. Tasted at an instore presentation, and highly rated – worth the splurge.

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2024. A long-standing favourite of mine, & rated by GK at 18.5pts.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling Central Otago 2015 – $$$ – Drink 2025. A second bottle secured for the Long Haul.

All bottles stored under the careful watch of cellarmouser Mimi. Don’t give me that look, puss….

What’s in the glass tonight July 21st – Syrah


Te Mata Estate Syrah 2015

Te Mata Estate Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$

Another Syrah! I’m on a roll.

This is the Estate model, a bit of a step down from the Bullnose Rhone-ster. This will be a young wine, fresh off the boat, so I would expect a tannic edge, and a touch of metallic flint…

…and no surprise. Dark garnet. The florality is lifted by 2% Viognier in the blend. 13% alc.

Soft red cherries and underripe blackberries on the nose, not too lifted or exemplary, a bit green. Tannic and lean to taste, there is some fruit there, and needs vigorous decanting to show its best side. It doesn’t grow in the glass, and for me, is not as accomplished as earlier vintages were.

86 points.

Straight to the Pool Room – April 2016


Pool Room April 2016

This Chardonnay was well reviewed by a local commentator, so I wanted to get a bottle for the Pool Room. My local had run out of the full ones, but they managed to find a couple of 375ml half bottles out the back! The smaller formats should age a little quicker than usual.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 375ml – $$$ – Drink 2018-2022.

I am pretty keen to collect a couple of bottles of their 2014 Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc as well. It is also looking pretty good.

What’s in the glass tonight March 27th – Various reds


Escarpment Pahi PN 2010

From the Cellar: Escarpment Pahi SV Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$$

G came around tonight for dinner with L and I. As promised, I cracked a bottle of Pinot Noir from the cellar to match the bottle he bought for our wedding last year. It was, alas, not up to the occasion…

…Vegetal, stalky, angular & thin. A true cool climate example, but showed light fruit, less than ripe, certainly not luscious, and showed green. A MAJOR disappointment. I do recall, at the 2012 tasting from which I bought this wine, that I was charmed by the floral femininity of the wine, but that I was the only one in the room thus charmed…therefore; lesson: note the ‘ wisdom of crowds’ in future…

82 points

Te Mata Various reds - Graeme N

Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Syrah Viognier Hawkes Bay 2003

G supplied two bottles for dinner, ex an auction he had recently bought at. What a treat!

This wine was savoury and spicy, with white pepper notes, sweet ripe fruit, balanced tannins and fruit. Yum. A total delight!

94 points

Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Merlot / Cabernet Hawkes Bay 2006

An upfront nose of vanilla and baking spice. Balanced fruit, structured tannins, licorice and cocoa. Dense and flavoursome.

91 points

Te Mata Estate 2014 Reds release


Te Mata Coleraine 2014 tasting

Regional Wines Instore Tasting – Bullnose, Awatea, Coleraine 2014s

Regional Wines opened a bottle of the new release premium red wines from Te Mata Estate in Hawkes Bay for all and sundry to try. First in, first served. Couldn’t miss this…I hurriedly took these notes on my way home to the family…

Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah 2014 – $$$ – Plumper & fleshier that the ’13; warmer black pepper violets, delicious. A very attractive Syrah

Te Mata Estate Cab Merlot Awatea 2014 – $$$ – Grippy fruity structured, bright acidity, warm Vanilla notes, delicious dark fruits, savoury & long. Great drinking now.

Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2014$$$++ – Dense bright acid showing dark roses, mocha, packed ripe fine fruit weight and tight structure, a substantial essential NZ wine; needs 5 years min to show best and integrate.  Selling for around a hundred dollars a bottle now…ouch