Five top wines to cellar

For more on cellaring wine, go to www.whiterefrigeration.co.nz/wine-cellars/

The man behind Jacob’s Creek has retired after 40 years of turning one of the world’s biggest wine brands into a household name. And in his wake, Bernard Hickin has made a wine that he hopes will last  another 40 years.

Wine 1

The 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet costs  $75 and with fewer than 900 bottles made, it’s in short supply. Does the wine live up to the words?

Here’s my review on a wine I think is worth cellaring.

The 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet is an unconventional blend of two deeply coloured black grapes, unless you’re in Australia where Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon regularly rub shoulders in full bodied wines, such as this big, bold red. For every powerful aspect to this full bodied, high tannin, high acid red, there is a balancing smooth (soft tannins), velvety (mellow nature due to oak aging) and and juicy character (vibrant acidity), all of which suggest that this wine will stand the test of time and age for up to 20 years, potentially longer.

I was one of 12 New Zealanders to receive a bottle of this wine to taste. The limited bottles of 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet are available for purchase solely at the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa Valley.

Footnote

Bernard Hickin studied grape growing and winemaking at a degree at the Roseworthy Agricultural College in Adelaide in the mid 1970s and began work for Pernod Ricard Winemakers (then G Gramp & Sons) in 1976 – the same year Jacob’s Creek was officially launched. He was appointed chief winemaker of Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Australia in 2006 and was succeeded this year by winemaker Ben Bryant, who began making wine in the small Australian town of Mudgee in New South Wales.

Wine 2

2015 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay $59.99

In many wine drinkers minds, Chardonnay is a white to drink now, as in, right now, but that is to forget the great aging potential of top Chablis and other cool climate wines, such as this one from Hawke’s Bay. It was released this month in Wellington and its full body, noticeable zesty acidity and intense stone fruit flavours all give it the power and backbone (the acidity) to last and improve in the bottle for 8-9 years, in a cool, dark cellar.

Wine 3

2014 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Syrah $79.99

Now we’re talking about a wine that seems to say ‘cellar me rather than drink me right now’ because its deep purple colour, dry, full body, powerful but smooth tannins and intense black fruit flavours all bode well for a wine which will gain in complexity with time in the bottle. How long is ideal to age this wine? I suggest a decade. It’s high priced but also high quality.

Wine 4

2014 Vidal’s Legacy Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon $69.99

Cabernet Sauvignon has shrunk in New Zealand to less than 300 hectares today, despite being more than double that as recent as 11 years ago. This may seem a sad state of affairs for fans of powerful French reds from Bordeaux (the home of the Cab’ Sauv’ grape), but it means that the few New Zealand wines made from this grape are better than ever before. It’s one of the world’s latest ripening grapes and even with climate change now apparent, Cabernet Sauvignon usually demands more warmth than New Zealand can deliver, with a few recent exceptions – such as the 2013 and 2014 vintages. This is my pick of the new Vidal’s Legacy trio for its powerful style and firm, youthful, dry flavours, which will, I believe, transform into complex dried herb and black olive flavours with up to a decade and beyond in the bottle.

Wine 5

2015 Sileni Estate Selection Springstone Pinot Noir 14.5% ABV

Hawke’s Bay has more than one white wine string to its bow, so why not allow it the leeway with red wine too, provided it is made from grapes grown (as this Pinot Noir is) from suitable climate zones. While you’re pondering that question, pour yourself a glass of this outstanding new Sileni Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown on a vineyard on elevated river terraces, 150 metres above sea level at Mangatahi. This is inland Hawke’s Bay so the climate is significantly cooler than many other areas in the region. The grapes were divided when picked into two different portions, 30% were fermented as whole bunches while 70% were completely destemmed. The wine stayed on skins four weeks to maximise colour from a relatively light coloured grape and the wine was then matured for nine months in 225 litre French oak barriques; in the final blend only 5% of the wine has had new oak. This refreshing, silky smooth, medium bodied red drinks well now and can further improve for up to 5 years in the bottle.