December 26thth, 2020 – New Zealand Part 2
Tour Number 2 of New Zealand begins in Hawkes Bay where Syrah is King..through the legendary Gimblett Gravels… and finishes on the south Island in Nelson at NZ’s first Maori owned and operated winery.
Part 1 of our wine tour of New Zealand took us through the Auckland area and on to Hawkes Bay and that’s where we begin Part 2.
Elephant Hill is a stunning and innovative winery estate and restaurant located on the idyllic Te Awanga coast, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
They create 2 very fine chardonnays Sauv. blanc, a white & red blends called Le Phant Blanc/Rouge and a 5 star Viognier and they favour Syrah on the Red side..
We sit down in their fabulous restaurant with Viticulturist Jon Peet and sales and marketing leader Vince Labatt.
Staying in the Hawkes Bay area on North Island NZ we head for Pask
On our tour of NZ #1 we talked to Kate Ranburnd the famous winemaker at Pask. This time we take to the Gimblett Gravels fields and meet the guys who grow in that stunning region.
At Gimblett Gravels Pask’s 59 hectares of vineyards are located on Gimblett Road where Chris Pask was first to plant in the region. It’s now known as the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District®.
Formed over 100 years ago when the Ngaruroro River changed its course, the light, stony soils of the region are low in nutrients, completely free draining, and create the perfect environment for growing premium quality grapes. Their very first vintage of 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 5 stars in Cuisine Magazine.
Since then Pask wines have consistently enjoyed gold medal and trophy success in London, Australia, Asia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand across a range of varietals and winestyles. Pask has been a member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception.
John recognized the outstanding potential of Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district and in 1993 Trinity Hill became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River.
The first Gimblett Road wines, barrel-aged, were released in 1998 (vintage 1997); Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and Syrah, to critical acclaim and a number of gold medals and trophies. In 2000, a further 20 hectare parcel of prime Gimblett Gravels land was purchased, named “Gimblett Stones” where Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot plus areas of Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier were planted.
By 2001 The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association was set up with 34 wineries and winegrowers from a “terroir”-defined area of the old Ngaruroro Riverbed, including Gimblett Road. Trinity Hill was and remains a founding member. In 2002, the first vintage super-premium wine Homage Syrah was made.
When it was released in 2004 it received critical acclaim world-wide. The 2006 vintage of Homage Syrah won the Supreme Award at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in 2007.
John Hancock is our guest!
Sileni Estates is a major vineyard and winery development in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest established vineyard area.
The first vintage was in 1998. Sileni boasts a state of the art winery designed to crush over 1500 tonnes of grapes.
The Winemaking Team strive to maintain high standards in environmentally sustainable viticultural and winemaking practices Our Guest is Winemaker Grant Edmonds.
Grant now leads a team of talented winemakers and viticultural staff who all share Grant and Sileni Estates’ commitment to the vision of making internationally acclaimed wines.
They grow wines in a new sub-region of Gimblett Gravels The Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District in Hawke’s Bay has recently been launched to celebrate and promote one of New Zealand’s premium wine-growing sub-regions.
The area extends over more than 2,000 hectares on the western side of the Heretaunga plains and includes the largest concentration of quality vineyards in Hawke’s Bay.
In 1838 a group of French Missionaries (with the blessing of the Pope) arrived and established a Marist Mission in the north of New Zealand. In 1851 a mission station was established near the Ngaruroro River between Napier and Hastings at Pakowhai. In 1858, the missionaries moved to land they had purchased at Meeanee and a major community was established.
A cottage for living quarters was transported from Pakowhai and later a Church, school and study halls were built. Vines were planted to produce both sacramental and table wine. The first record of a commercial sale dates back to 1870 when a parcel of mostly dry reds were sold.
Today Mission Estate is Hawke’s Bay’s oldest winery, with a well-respected reputation in the New Zealand market as a producer of consistent quality, value for money wines.
Paul Mooney has been the winemaker at Mission Estate for over 30 years, making him one of the most experienced winemakers in New Zealand.
Paul’s winemaking philosophies are heavily influenced by his mentor, Brother John, who trained in Bordeaux during the 1960’s
Then it’s off to Wellington and then on to Nelson on the Northern tip of the South Island.
Te Mania and Richmond Plains
Te Mānia was established by Jon and Cheryl Harrey in 1990 near Nelson. A two time Champion of the prestigious Bragato Wine Awards, Te Mānia has created excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling wine.
Te Mānia is the Maori name for “The Plains” pronounced “Tay Ma-ni-a”
To celebrate the worlds biggest grapevine rugby ball and to support their world beating rugby team they have released the Te Mania 2010 Big Balls Syrah.
Richmond Plains is an organic and biodynamic Nelson wine making pioneer producing New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from certified Organic and Biodynamic grapes.
They also produce Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Rose, Syrah and Blanc de Noir – Pinot made as a white wine. Richmond Plains has been growing and making organic wine since inception in 1991. Richmond Plains won the Trophy for the best Sauvignon Blanc at the 2012 Sydney International Wine Competition.
Our guests are Winemaker Steve Gill (both labels) and Lars Jensen – Owner Richmond Plains
Tohu produces award-winning New Zealand wine crafted from grapes grown in the breath-takingly beautiful, Awatere Valley Vineyard. When Tohu launched in 1998 they were the world’s first Māori owned wine company.
Since then they’ve grown a reputation for producing premium wine in a range of varieties, winning awards for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Méthode Traditionnelle. . Tohu Wines now has a sister brand. Aronui Wines was launched early in 2013.
The word Aronui derives from the Māori mythological basket of knowledge associated with crafts, arts and working with the land in beneficial ways. This reflects their commitment to caring for the land and their artisanal approach to winemaking. As the owners are kaitiaki (guardians of their natural resources) and focused on sustainable enterprise, both Tohu and Aronui vineyards are certified by Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ), the company is CEMARS accredited, and the wines are carboNZero certified.
Whenua Matua (Significant Lands) is the name of their Aronui vineyard. It is located in Nelson’s Moutere Valley – an area fast becoming an aromatics powerhouse. This compliments their Tohu vineyards located in Marlborough, where they continue to produce Single Vineyard Estate grown wines and exceptional Kaumatua-Reserve range, named after special elders from within their whanau.
Our hosts also take us to their mussle farms just off shore. That’s where we get the treat of the trip..fresh live mussels cooked on deck and washed down with their Sauvignon Blanc.
(Whanau = family. Māori = indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Kaumauta = respected elder)
Our guests include:
Kerensa Johnson – Company Secretary and Lawyer Mike Brown – CEO Kono beverages
Capt Dave Higgins – Hicapoo Hunter fishing boat.
Stories we’re working on:
Liam Mayclem – The Foodie Chap on SF Restaurants and Wineries
Chef David Hawksworth – The Cookbook (and The Life.)
Catching up with Ampersand Distillery.