Hawke’s Bay’s finest

Gimblett Gravels vines (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association represents all wineries and growers in the region. Their mission is to cement Hawke’s Bay’s place as one of the world’s great wine regions.

To help achieve that goal, the organisation decided to put together a selection of four bottles each of Hawke’s Bay’s finest chardonnay, syrah and merlot cabernet blends and single varietal. Members were invited to contribute samples in each category and I was invited to taste them and choose the best. Wine producers were allowed to contribute only one sample in each category which netted 15 chardonnays, 19 syrahs and 19 other reds.

The wines were served blind by category. I had to pick the best five in each category (a reserve wine was necessary in case one of the selected wines was unavailable).

The standard was very high, which made my job difficult. Normally the first thing I would do in a tasting like this is eliminate any non-contenders but in this case, they were a very small group. Clearly, 2014 was an excellent vintage in both reds and whites. I’d have to say that more than half the wines in each class were worthy candidates for selection.

Here is my “Top 12” (in no particular order)

Chardonnay

Blended Reds

Syrah

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