It was another lovely day in Hawke’s Bay and we were to explore the famous Gimblett Gravels area
The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District is located in the old Omahu Channel and has mostly Omahu soils. The Omahu soils are a unique fine sandy loam with overlying stony gravels. And where better to try a wine from these soils than with pioneer winemaker John Hancock at his Trinity Hill estate? John first recognised the potential of the Gimblett Gravels back in 1993 and his Trinity Hill Homage Syrah is regarded today as an iconic wine, earning critical acclaim world-wide.
John showed us round the winery and we tasted the 2013 wines from vat and barrel before settling at the bar at the cellar door to taste some back vintages.
The Syrah was stunning. French winemaker Gerard Jaboulet who took John under his wing in the Northern Rhone has certainly left his mark and this wine certainly matches up to the very best Hermitage!
For lunch I went to the Black Barn Bistro located amongst their vineyards in Havelock North. If you’re in town don’t miss out on this place.
The afternoon started with a trip to Sacred Hill where I met consultant winemaker Jenny Dobson. Jenny is a very experienced winemaker and actually worked for Tony in the late 80’s in Castillon! Jenny gave me a great tour and tasting of the 2013’s. Very impressive wines and incredible attention to detail.
For the rest of the day I made some unannounced visits. I had tasted a wonderful Craggy range Le Sol Syrah when I first arrived in NZ and so just had to visit and re-taste. The Syrah is again from the Gimblett Gravels area. The 2010 is deep and dark with aromas of sweet blackberries and freshly cracked black pepper, a northern Rhone style palate with and refreshing acidity, a truly great wine!
Te Mata Awatea Cabernet/Merlot is another impressive wine I have previously tasted. Established in 1896, the winery is named after the 400m Te Mata Peak that looms dramatically over the Hawke’s Bay area, situated south of Hastings. The estate is still family owned and the range of wines are of a very high standard.
My last evening in NZ was party time and where better than at the laid-back restaurant at Clearview Estate? A beautiful evening with great live music and plenty of tasting with founder and winemaker Tim Turvey.
A big thank you to Clare and Brian Hollings for looking after me during my stay in Hawke’s Bay, cheers guys!
Well that’s the end of my New Zealand trip and it’s been a wonderful experience, tomorrow I head back to India to check on the wines I made in March!