Central Hawke’s Bay is one of the most remote, least well known wine regions in New Zealand but a handful of wine producers is growing grapes in this relatively cool area, wedged as it is between the Bay and the Northern Wairarapa.
Three interesting wines from Central Hawke’s Bay landed on my desk last week and here are my thoughts from tasting the trio…
2014 Lauregan Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 13.5% ABV
Mike Old and Hazel Allan learnt the hard way that Pinot Noir and Central Hawke’s Bay are a happy combination, and this wine is the second vintage of Pinot success from their 1.4 hectare vineyard. Its deep ruby colour, powerful spicy aromas (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves), mushrooms and earth and red fruit flavours are all under pinned by its dry style, full body and satisfying long finish.
Their little Lauregan vineyard is at Elsthorpe, in Central Hawke’s Bay.
It is very good quality with more body, power and intensity than many Pinot Noirs from the relatively cool climate and relative tiny wine region of Central Hawke’s Bay. It drinks well now and shows potential for further aging of up to 5 to 6 years.
2013 Lauregan Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 14.5% ABV
This is the first vintage of Pinot Noir from the small 1.4 hectare hillside vineyard owned by Mike Old and Hazel Allan in Central Hawke’s Bay, and it’s a fitting debut to the couple’s long held dream to make great wine at a fair price. The 2013 vintage was one of the best in New Zealand’s modern wine history, thanks to the long dry summer of bright sunny days, which ended in a long dry autumn; great conditions for grape growing, in other words. While Pinot Noir is a relatively early ripening red grape variety, it benefitted from this vintage big time, which is obvious the second you taste this full bodied Pinot Noir, which has big smooth tannins and concentrated aromas of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) combined with red fruit flavours of cherry and plums. It drinks well now and will further improve.
2013 Lauregan Single Vineyard Sangiovese 13% ABV
It’s refreshing to see Sangiovese from Central Hawke’s Bay and it has long been the dream of vignerons Mike Old and Hazel Allan, who initially devoted their 1.4 hectares of hillside vineyard to this classic Italian grape, which is one of the most planted in Italy. This full bodied, dry and succulent Sangiovese has all the hallmarks of good quality Italian wines, including its classic attributes of high tannins, high acidity and juicy red fruit flavours. It drinks well now and can hold for several years to come. While only small amounts were made, the vineyard has now been predominantly grafted over to Pinot Noir, which is a significantly earlier ripening grape than Sangiovese, and is therefore potentially better suited to this central Hawke’s Bay vineyard site, however, Sangiovese remains a work of love on this vineyard for Mike and Hazel.
All Lauregan wines are sealed with Diam corks.