The drought conditions of December through to mid-February had effectively “saved our bacon” in terms of how the grapes across Hawke’s Bay had weathered persistent and potentially damaging bouts of rain over the past six weeks.
However, there was likely to be a drop in overall volumes along with a drop in sugar levels and in individual cases a possible rise in the cost of harvesting, leading winemaker Rod McDonald said.
Bright, warm and dry days had seen the critical early development of grapes go extremely well, Mr McDonald said, adding that effectively created a good base for fruit protection when the rains did arrive.
“There was good early flavour development during the start of the season – they [grapes] may be down on sugars but the flavours are there.”
Location had been a factor in which vineyards saw reduced volumes, he said, although the overall drop was unlikely to be major.
Of the three vineyards which sourced Rod McDonald Wines one would be down on volumes as a result of the rain belts but the other two were actually slightly ahead of their initial estimates.
“It depends where you were to find the effects where rain hit.”
He said coastal areas like Te Awanga came through well.
“We’ve got some amazing chardonnay and perfect ripeness out of there.”
Rain often created extra costs due to stopping and starting of harvesting – “darting back and forth” – as well as the need for selected picking plans.
“But you’ve just got to suck it up.”
Mr McDonald said he was at a wine tasting in Auckland about a month ago and was asked what effect rain would have on the grape harvest and how damaging could it be.
He replied that despite Hawke’s Bay’s dry reputation everyone in the industry had a wet weather plan and were always prepared for such an eventuality.
“If you don’t then you’re dreaming.”
Part of his plan was to go with “discretion rather than valour” and carry out an earlier than usual harvest of some Syrah and Merlot so as not to put them through any more rain.
“You have to ask yourself ‘do I pull the pin now and bank it or push on through?”
But he still has some Syrah out, along with Cabernet “and they are in great shape”.
Having a damp end to the season was always a threat and simply “one of those things you have to deal with”.
Mission Estate winemaker Paul Mooney took the same stance.
“We have had a remarkable amount of rainfall over the past six or seven weeks and that is not ideal for grape growing but we have worked around it.”
Mr Mooney said there had been some grape loss.
“There have been one or two blocks we’ve had to leave.”
While volumes would be down it would not be major and he agreed with Mr MacDonald that the hot, dry start for the season had put things on the right path.
“It just hasn’t been ideal in the way it has finished,” he said.
He also agreed that while sugar levels were down flavours would still be very good.
On 13 March 2017, Bob Campbell MW spent the afternoon in Hawke’s Bay, blind tasting his way through a sea of 2014 vintage Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot Cabernet blends concealed in brown paper bags. Mr Campbell then selected the top 12 2014 vintage wines to represent Hawke’s Bay, only finding out himself on Wednesday which wines he had selected.
Bob Campbell was the second New Zealander, and is one of just over 300 people in the world to hold the Master of Wine qualification. Mr Campbell is an internationally acclaimed wine judge and is widely regarded as the New Zealand’s foremost wine educator.
Melisa Beight, Executive Officer of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Inc. said that the boards and members were thrilled that Bob Campbell MW had agreed to judge the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection. “This is the first year we have produced a Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection and it marks a real milestone for the region. The Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection will be judged by Bob Campbell every year from now on, with the top 12 wines representing the best of Hawke’s Bay being sent out to global key opinion leaders, so that they can make their own assessment.”
“The overall standard was very high indeed” declared Bob Campbell MW. “Clearly 2014 was a truly top vintage. A range of different Chardonnay styles added extra interest, and a degree of difficulty in choosing the ultimate winners. Syrah was stylistically more consistent as well as being the highest performer of the three classes. Blended reds were a pleasure to judge – all of the entries merited selection.”
The 2014 Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection (in no particular order):
Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2014
Te Awa Single Estate Chardonnay 2014
Bilancia Chardonnay 2014
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014
Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2014
Craggy Range Te Kahu, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay 2014
Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2014
Vidal Legacy Syrah 2014
Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah 2014
Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2014
Craggy Range Syrah, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay 2014
About Hawke’s Bay Wine: Founded in 2006, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Inc. represents all wineries and growers in the region and its mission is to achieve international recognition as one of the great wine regions of the world.
A really good turnout for this meeting. A major problem, which led to some disappointment, was that Gavin was quite softly spoken and he did not use the sound system available. The result was that many members had difficulty in hearing much of what was being said. We will need to be more insistent that the sound system is used.
Despite this, the wines presented were great and much enjoyed by those present. On the amusing side, we were getting a little worried about Gavin’s arrival as time moved on. A search of the Community Centre found him trying to get access to Peter Dunne’s electoral office where a local election meeting was being held. The arrival of a couple of cases of wine might well have held more joy than council election issues.
Wines tasted included: The Chatterer – Chardonnay 2015; The Chatterer – Syrah 2014, PINK – Rosé 2016; Counting Crows – Chardonnay 2015; The Gravels – Syrah 2014; The Nest – Merlot 2013; and the Stoned Crow – Syrah 2013.
An Auckland Chardonnay and a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot both shone at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.
Grown by Brett Donaldson, the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 won the coveted Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard and the Bill Irwin Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.
“This Chardonnay demonstrated exceptional respect to the variety and is a shining example of what hard graft in the vineyard and soft touch in the winery can achieve. It shows wonderful expression and captures the essence of the Ihumatao vineyard. Simply stunning!,” said Chairman of Judges Ben Glover.
The Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014, made from grapes grown on the Vidal vineyard by Phil Holden, won the Richard Smart Trophy – Champion Domaine Wine.
“High quality, perfectly ripened fruit was allowed to shine through in this expertly crafted wine. It had superb balance and respect for the fruit, providing seamless delicacy, acidity and palate weight,” said Mr Glover.
The Bragato Wine Awards are held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference, and recognise the grower for viticultural excellence. The competition acknowledges that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making wines of true quality. The Trophies were presented at the Bragato Dinner in Marlborough last night.
To be awarded the Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard Wine, a minimum of 95% of the grape juice content must come from a single vineyard.
To be awarded the Richard Smart Trophy – Champion Domaine Wine, a minimum of 85% of the grape juice content must come from a single vineyard.
Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy and Champion Single Vineyard Wine
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland Brett Donaldson
Richard Smart Trophy and Champion Domaine Wine
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014 Vidal Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay Phil Holden
Friedrich Wohnsiedler Trophy Winner and Champion Riesling
Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard East Block Riesling Central Otago 2016 Mt Maude Vineyard, Central Otago Dawn and Terry Wilson
Brother Cyprian Trophy Winner and Champion Pinot Gris
Aronui Pinot Gris Single Vineyard Nelson 2016 Whenua Matua Vineyard, Nelson Jonny Hiscox
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Gewürztraminer 2014 Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland Brett Donaldson
Champion Other Red Wine
Coopers Creek SV Hawke’s Bay Malbec ‘Saint John’ 2013 Saint John Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay Wayne Morrow
Champion Sweet Wine
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2015 Rocenvin Vineyard, Marlborough Chris Fletcher
New Zealand Wine Cellars Spence Brothers Trophy Winner and Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 Tohu Awatere Vineyard, Marlborough Mondo Kopua
Bill Irwin Trophy Winner and Champion Chardonnay
Brett Donaldson Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014
Wooing Tree Rosé Central Otago 2016 Wooing Tree Vineyard, Central Otago Geoff Bews
Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Winner and Champion Pinot Noir
Black Quail Estate Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 Keillor Vineyard, Central Otago Rod and Mirani Kellior
Tom McDonald Memorial Trophy Winner and Champion Classical Red Wine
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014 Vidal Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay Phil Holden
Alan Limmer Trophy Winner and Champion Syrah
Falcon Ridge Estate Syrah Nelson 2015 Falcon Ridge Estate, Nelson Alan J Eggers
Judges gearing up for Bragato Wine Awards 2016
(9 August 2016)
A 13 strong judging team, including international judges Andrea Frost and Nick Ryan, is gearing up to judge over 600 entries for this year’s Bragato Wine Awards in Auckland on 16 and 17 August.
Andrea Frost is an award-winning wine writer, columnist and author based in Melbourne, Australia. In 2013, Andrea was named Wine Communicator of the Year and her first book, ‘Through a Sparkling Glass, an A-Z of the Wonderland of Wine’, was awarded Best Wine Publication. In 2012 and 2013, Andrea was named Wine Business Monthly’s ‘50 Stars’ of the year.
Fellow countryman Nick Ryan is a wine writer, judge and educator based in Adelaide. Nick used the knowledge he had gained from raiding his father’s wine cellar to land a job with one of Sydney’s leading wine merchants. Realising that writing about it was easier than lifting it has led him to where he is now. Nick is a regular contributor to Men’s Style Australia and Gourmet Traveller Wine and has judged in many Australian and international wine shows.
Leading the Bragato Wine Awards team is Chair of Judges Ben Glover, Group Winemaker for Accolade Wines New Zealand.
“This is always a wonderful opportunity and privilege to view, assess and reward our industry peers’ wines”, said Mr Glover. “The Bragato Wine Awards is a unique forum on the wine industry calendar that champions the grape grower, recognises the vineyard and awards viticultural excellence.”
The Bragato Wine Awards, held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference, recognises that exceptional grape growing is the foundation of making wines that express true quality of place. Judging takes place on 16 and 17 August at AUT in Auckland City. The trophy winning wines will be revealed at the Bragato Dinner at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Marlborough on 25 August.
Judging Team: Chair of Judges – Ben Glover Judges – Rod Easthope, Helen Masters, James Millton, Helen Morrison, Simon Nunns, Barry Riwai, John Saker International Judges – Andrea Frost (Australia), Nick Ryan (Australia) Associate Judges – Lauren Swift, Liz Wheadon, Stephen Wong MW
Wine experts have settled on a list of close to 50 wines, some costing more than $100 a bottle, for Air New Zealand to select from for its business class passengers.
Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have selected “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – to serve in planes from September.
A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.
One of the key criteria was consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an ”exceptional standard” for a minimum of five consecutive years.
Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton says the airline had been a longstanding supporter of New Zealand’s wine industry.
It spends about $6 million a year on wine for passengers throughout aircraft.
“We believe we can help further build awareness and appreciation of these world class wines with international travellers and propel leading New Zealand wineries to even greater commercial success,” Parton said.
The wines would be promoted through its inflight entertainment system, at offshore events and using contacts internationally to help open up key export markets for the wineries should they need this support.
The airline’s specialist inflight wine consultants, who are based in New Zealand, China and the United States, will select wines from the list for serving in business premier cabins. Not all on the list of 47 would make it on board as some do not react well to high altitudes or are available in sufficient quantities.
Parton said it was important that the wines were selected independently of its existing wine programme.
”We look forward to working closely with the wine masters in the coming years to compile this list annually.”
In 2014 Air New Zealand moved to a three-year deal with a single supplier, Villa Maria, in its economy section which upset some in the wine industry, but which the airline said had been part of simplifying the supply chain.
The Fine Wines of New Zealand for 2016:
Aromatics Felton Road Dry Riesling 2014 Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2015 Framingham F series Riesling Kabinett 2015 Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer 2014 Stonecroft Gewürztraminer 2015 Te Whare Ra Toru SV5182 2014 Millton Vineyards Clos de Ste Anne Chenin Blanc 2014 Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris 2014 Dry River Pinot Gris 2014
Pinot Noir Felton Road Block 3 2013 Burn Cottage 2014 Valli Bannockburn 2014 Rippon Vineyards Tinkers Field 2012 Bell Hill 2012 Ata Rangi 2013 Dry River 2013 Craggy Range Aroha 2013 Kusuda 2013
Bordeaux style Te Mata Coleraine 2014 Craggy Range Sophia 2013 Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Esk Valley The Terraces 2013 Stonyridge Vineyard Larose 2014 Church Road Tom 2013
Sauvignon Blanc Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011 Astrolabe Province 2015 Dog Point 2015 Greywacke 2015 Saint Clair Reserve Wairau 2015 Vavasour 2015
Chardonnay Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard 2014 Neudorf Moutere 2011 Sacred Hill Riflemans 2014 Dog Point 2013 Felton Road Block 2 2010 Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard 2014
Check this out, Villa Maria wine has a place at the BAFTA.
The Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99 from VM) was served in the same company as Taittinger to the twinkling stars of the screen.
You can understand why after reading what goes into the food and wine matching. Read Megan Nisbet’s exclusive and everything you need to know about the British Academy Film Awards – EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes at the BAFTA Awards 2016.
A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the top prize at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, presented last night at Nelson’s Saxton Stadium.
The Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 won the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, as well as the Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy. Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 was one of the fuller-bodied Syrahs in this year’s competition.
“It’s a wine with lovely ripe black fruit and floral Syrah characters, and very well-handled subtle oak influence,” said Mr Brajkovich. “The palate is full-bodied, with rich berry fruit and firm tannins to fill out the finish and ensure a long maturation potential.
“Syrah provided a quality class of wine, displaying a diversity of styles from fresh, vibrant peppery and herbal, to full-bodied rich and ripe black-fruit styles, with significant oak impact and earthy tannins.”
There were strong trophy contenders across the 16 classes, but the winners prevailed by having that “extra something special”, Mr Brajkovich said.
The second highest accolade of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, went to the Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. This exceptional Chardonnay also won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy.
Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Bruce Parton said the airline was a longstanding partner of the New Zealand wine industry, which continued to produce some of the world’s best wines.
“We’ve been a proud sponsor of the awards for 29 years, and are passionate about promoting home-grown wines and showcasing New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism.”
“It’s been fantastic to see such a large number of entries in this year’s competition from wineries across the country. We wish to congratulate all medal and trophy winners.”
As well as the 18 trophies awarded, 36 Pure Elite Gold Medals and one Elite Gold Medal were announced at the dinner, which was emceed by TV3’s Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. This year’s competition saw 1,407 wines entered, 99 percent of which were accredited as being sustainably produced.
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for 40 years.
Air NZ wine awards 2015 – Trophy winners
Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013
O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014
Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Pinot Gris Greystone Pinot Gris Waipara Valley 2015 Isabel Pinot Gris Marlborough 2015 Saint Clair Premium Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014 Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015
Riesling Ceres Black Rabbit Vineyard Riesling Central Otago 2015 Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015 Spy Valley Envoy Riesling Marlborough 2010
Sauvignon Blanc Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 Vidal Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Chardonnay Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2013 Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014 Nautilus Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 Villa Maria Library Release Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2010 Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014 Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Sweet Wine Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015
Rosé Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015
Pinot Noir Akitu A2 Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014 Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014 Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014 Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Ridge Block Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013 Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014 Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013
Merlot, Cabernet and Blends Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014 Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Syrah Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014
Other Varieties – Single Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015
Elite Gold Medals
Sparkling Daniel Le Brun Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc De Blancs Marlborough 2009
A very enjoyable tasting We had a great evening and Ben Coles was a relaxed and entertaining presenter. The wines were more than pleasant and members were keen to make orders. Yet another top tasting, to repeat the wines offered;
There are not many times when tasting wines you come across a range that fulfils everything it promises. Duncan, the team at Man O’ War, and our presenter Ben have produced a range the would not let anyone down. Everyone had their favourite on the night right across the lineup.
2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
2015 Pinque Rose
2011 Dreadnought Syrah
2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend
Ben, the GSM at Man o’ War is an ingenious speaker; knowledgeable, funny, with a great personality; a great representative for Man O’ War. I noted a few of Ben’s one-liners:
Berocca pee (in reference to Marlborough Sauv’s)
Better red than dead
Gotta go big or go home
Drink some tea (in reference to waiting for wine to ferment)
Global warming is John Key,s fault (needing to pick 2012 crop later than usual due to wet weather)
Waiheke is a piece of dirt in a big blue thing (in reference to an ideal location)
Man O’ War is 150 acres made up of 76 individual parcels of land providing great diversity in soil type, prevailing winds and temperature, allowing the winemaker to source the best of what’s on offer to make incredibly decadent wines.
The Gravestone as you’d expect was far your typical sauv. Silky with a touch of sweetness with a slight minerality finish – pleasant. 15/20
I have been drinking the ’09 and ’10 Valhalla – exceptional wines. The 2014 rendition was smokey, no malo ferment due to basalt soils, and a beautifully balanced wine. Yes needs five years but worth the wait. 19/20
The Pinot Gris bottled at 4° gave a slight tingle on the tongue. Ben mentioned this raises the CO2 levels so there’s more in the bottle – about 4 ml. 17/20
The inaugural release of Pinque, named after a flat-bottomed ship, was gently pressed wine in the champagne style over 6 hours. A pale pink hue gives way to a savoury cranberry nose and clean dry finish. 15/20
The white label Merlot dominant (45%) Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite wines anytime. I can recommend the ’06 and ’07 as it has aged wonderfully well so 2012 won’t let you down. Fruity, light tannin feel on the teeth, not the mouth, and a smooth rich finish. 17/20. Now for the biggies.
The Ironclad, silky elegance. Savoury mince nose, rich lingering finish. An exciting wine that I’ve laid down for at least ten years. 19/20. The Dreadnought gave a hint of bayleaf, bacon and blueberries, finished off with savoury and minerality overtones. Ben said Pinot Noir on steroids and that’s the beauty of this wine. Another for ageing. 18/20.
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.
Cost: Members $12, Guests $16
Presenter: Ben Coles, Global Sales Manager
About Man O’ War
The Winemaker at Man O’ War is Duncan McTavish. His heart and soul and enormous talent are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. Of singular personality, they are indeed the “definitive translation of our land.”
The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology degree at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy, Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand. This apprenticeship culminated in 2001 when he landed a job with one of New Zealand’s best wine producers, the Waipara Valley’s inimitable Pegasus Bay. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his winemaking ideas at Waipara Springs. In 2008, Man O’ War were fortunate enough to entice Duncan to go north to Man O’ War. He now makes his home on Waiheke living above Onetangi Beach with his partner Vanessa, son Tommy and a baby daughter.
We look forward to sharing the Man O’ War philosophy and wines with Ben, who is the Global Sales Manager for the winery.
Man O’ War Legacy – ‘Discovered’ in 1769
The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land which has a rich history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline. Continue reading →
A great evening with a good range of wines which was evidenced by a very good level of orders from the winery. Some of the wines were very expensive, I am sure members are keeping them for a special occasion.
Just to recap, the selection included the Gimblett Gravels Rose 2015, followed by the Te Muna Riesling 2014, the Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc 2014, and the Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2013. The reds included the high range Aroha (Pinot Noir) 2013, the Le Sol (Syrah) 2013 and the Sophia (Merlot) 2013.
Altogether an excellent tasting, thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.
Cost: Members $12 Guests $16
Presenter: Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet, Manager and Viticulturist, Joseph Soler Vineyard
Details: Villa Maria Estate Viticulturist Jono Hamlet presented a range of VM’s organic range of wines including:
2011 Private Bin Organic Gewürztraminer
2013 Private Bin Organic Merlot
2013 Cellar Selection Organic Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Cellar Selection Organic Merlot
2012 Single Vineyard Ihumatao Organic Verdelho
2013 Single Vineyard Templar Sauvignon Blanc
We were also be treated to some more interesting varieties from some of the 15 varieties of ‘barrel samples’ produced across the Hawkes Bay. We won’t be tasting them all on the night but these will provide us with an interesting wine experience.
A bit about Jono
Jono plays an integral part in managing Villa Maria’s 65 hectare Joseph Soler Vineyard in the Hawkes Bay, 21 hectares of which are fully certified with BioGro. His role involves the challenge of managing the vineyards organically, while meeting the economic and quality parameters set out by the company and industry.
The Joseph Soler Vineyard currently produces 15 grape varieties and supplies to all three company wineries, Villa Maria Estate (Auckland), Vidal (Hawkes Bay), and Esk Valley (Hawkes Bay).
Over the next five to seven years, Jonathan will take the lead role in bringing the entire Joseph Soler Vineyard (44 hectares remaining) into organic production.
Seeing the opportunities in viticulture, he spent several years growing grapes on Waiheke Island before migrating south to the Hawkes Bay, to work for CJ Pask and Ngatarawa wineries. He was later employed by Villa Maria to manage the organic vineyard, Joseph Soler.
Jono is the vice president of the NZ Organic Winegrowers Association.
Jono’s roadshow show was a polished display of art, chemistry, showmanship combined with facts and superb organic wines.
What was of great interest was the breadth of Jono’s knowledge of viticulture, winemaking and the impacts and trends he is apart of at Villa Maria. This includes moving the Joseph Soler Vineyard from a traditional vineyard to organic, about 5% of total Villa Maria wine production, and the biodynamic trends Villa Maria have set in the wine industry.
Passionate about his role at Villa Maria, Jono expressed the impact that terroir has on vine growth and took his time in explaining in some detail how this has impacted on the various Villa Maria vineyards in all wine growing regions of New Zealand.
The wines selected for the night showcased a small proportion of Villa Maria’s stable of wines. The quaffer, Gewürztraminer, was fairly typical of the varietal. The two Sauvignon Blancs again typical except the Templar very refined and is a likable type for those not as passionate about Sauv’s as some. Villa Maria is one of only a few vineyards to produce Verdelho in New Zealand. Another vineyard is Esk Valley, one of Villa Maria’s other brands.
Jono then produced two barrel samples, a Chenin Blanc and a Merlot, which were both unfined and cloudy. For many members it was their first taste of barrel samples and a great way to understand the development of wine from barrel to bottle to glass to lips. A unique and a great touch to the night. The night wasn’t finished there.
From Jono’s box of tricks he produced a beautiful Chenin Blanc sticky. Superb considering where it came from. After a wet summer in 2012 left the Chenin Blanc underdeveloped Jono left the grapes on the vine until May. By this time there was not a lot left to the grapes but wow what depth of flavour. Shame it was in such a small amount.
Thanks Jono and Villa Maria.
Want to find more about Villa Maria? Have a look at the playlist.