A couple from Hawke's Bay: Craggy Range and Sacred Hill

These impressed the other evening.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is beautifully fresh and focused with sweet blackcurrant fruit together with some black cherries and plums. There’s lovely balance: it’s ripe, but really well balanced with good acidity. [...]

Three lovely Hawke's Bay Chardonnays

Hawke’s Bay is becoming quite well known for its Chardonnay. It’s a grape that New Zealand hasn’t really owned in the same way as it has for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but there are some really stylish Kiwi Chardonnays out there. I enjoyed these three quite a bit.

Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2014 Hawke’s Bay, New [...]

Video: flying in a Tiger Moth biplane over the Bridge Pa Triangle vineyards, Hawke's Bay, NZ

Yesterday was spent in the two main subdistricts of Hawke’s Bay. The afternoon was spent in the famous Gimblett Gravels, but the morning was in the Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District. This consists of more than 2000 hectares of vines on the western side of the Heretaunga plains, and it has existed in the shadow [...]

Bordeaux varieties and blends from New Zealand, with some benchmarks

The second part of the Classic Reds Symposium in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, looked at Bordeaux varieties and blends. There were 12 wines, served blind, and as well as the 9 New Zealand wines there were 3 benchmarks from other regions. We tasted and then discussed the wines once we knew what they were.

My impression [...]

Gamay focus, 9 - Te Mata Gamay Noir 2014 Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Continuing the Gamay quest, we are off to New Zealand. There are just 7.3 hectares of Gamay Noir in New Zealand. And the producer who has led the way with his variety so far has been Te Mata, in Hawke’s Bay. This is their Gamay, and it’s pretty good. [The other famous example from Kiwi [...]

The 2013 Craggy Range Prestige wines: Le Sol, Sophia and Aroha

These are three remarkable wines. Craggy Range are very excited about the 2013 vintage in these two regions, and on tasting these wines it’s easy to show why. ‘In 2013 we felt it was the first time we had really seen the true potential of our great estates in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough,’ says winemaker [...]

New Kiwi wines from Rod Easthope

I first met Rod Easthope when he was winemaker at Craggy Range, based in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, back in 2008. I met him again in 2010 at the Hawkes Bay Syrah symposium, when he gave a deeply impressive talk on Kiwi Syrah. And then again, I met him in Wellington in January this year, [...]

A really good New Zealand Syrah, tasted on video

One of those funny clip things where I taste a wine on video. In this case it is the rather good Legacy Series Syrah 2009 from Vidal in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay.

A superb New Zealand Syrah

New Zealand reds are exciting. They’re getting better all the time. I caught this Trinity Hill Syrah – a wine I actually bought with my own money (shock!) – in a good place. It held up well over two days, although it’s a miracle that any was left for day 2.

Trinity Hill Syrah Gimblett Gravels [...]

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2009

Now this is a remarkable New Zealand Syrah, from the famous Gimblett Gravels terroir of Hawkes Bay. It’s a style I like a good deal, and which I predict has a very bright future. As is typical for this blog, I’m not just giving you a tasting note based on a quick slurp and spit, [...]