Mills Reef has just announced the release of a new “icon wine range” featuring two reds from the 2013 vintage, each with an NZD $350 price tag.
It’s hardly a surprise when Villa Maria earns yet another award. It’s more of a surprise when they don’t come first.
After selling Te Awa Wines the Lawson family bought a small hillside farm in the Gimblett Gravels subregion and planted a vineyard on the terraced slopes with a view to producing small quantities of premium wine.
Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association put together a selection of Hawke’s Bay’s finest wines.
Stonecroft Old Vine Chardonnay 2015, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, NZD $45
Mission Huchet 2013 Syrah, Hawke’s Bay $130 Big, ripe, rich and smooth-textured Syrah with dark-fleshed plum, blackberry, liquorice, black pepper, new leather and chocolate/mocha flavours. It gives a nod in the direction of the Barossa Valley. Accessible and yet structured red with good cellaring potential.
Steve Smith MW, the public face of New Zealand’s Craggy Range winery since it started 17 years ago, is scaling down his involvement to enable him to follow other projects.
Australia calls it “Shiraz”, producers in most other countries prefer to label it “Syrah”. It is the same grape variety. When James Busby first introduced it to Australia in 1832 it was known as “Scyras” but morphed into Shiraz at a later date. A popular legend has it that the variety came from Persia (now Iran) because the town of Shiraz was an important wine centre in 600 BC. The Australian spelling is more correct claim those (mostly Australians) who buy into that theory. That is a doubtful hypothesis according to the authoritative work “Wine Grapes” by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz.
In the past 10 years the acreage of Cabernet Sauvignon in this country has shrunk by 50%. It has gone from 6th place to 9th and now ranks below Gewurztraminer in vineyard area.
It’s relatively rare to find wines made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The lion’s share of the country’s Cabernet Sauvignon production is blended with Merlot and/or the other so-called “Bordeaux varieties”. It is usually the minority partner in the blend.
Craggy Range 2013 Sophia, Hawke’s Bay $72.95 A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Lifted aroma with pronounced plum and floral characters. A complex array of flavours on the palate including plum, dark berry, chocolate, spice and a hint of violet.