2016 Spade Oak Voysey Gisborne Pinot Gris $19.95
Gisborne’s vineyard area has shrunk by more than a quarter over the past 10 years, but winemakers like Steve Voysey of Spade Oak have added diversity in spades, if you’ll excuse the pun…
Voysey and his wife, Eileen, own Spade Oak and produce many of their region’s most interesting wines from the safe – such as this well priced, full bodied, high quality Pinot Gris – to the downright unsafe, such as Petit Manseng (a hand sell, if ever there was, but a delicious one at that).
They also make very good quality Albarino, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and blanc de blancs bubbly. This Pinot Gris is youthful, dry, full bodied and soft with a flavoursome style spanning green apple and pear to ripe stonefruit (white peach and peach nectar) with secondary bells and whistles from a short time on yeast lees following fermentation.
Its price may make the eyes water slightly but its identity could well do likewise, for those who knew the late Bill Irwin or know his son Denis, founders of Matawhero Wines in Gisborne – the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand. Chardonnay is the most planted grape in this region, making it unique among large wine regions in a country where Sauvignon Blanc rules the vineyard roost in most regions. Kirsten Searle, the owner of Matawhero Wines today, carries the torch for the Irwins, who did so much to ignite Gisborne’s Chardonnay flame.
2016 Irwin Gisborne Chardonnay, $59.95, 13.4% ABV
Its dry creamy flavours, full body and relative low acidity are the hallmarks of this big bodied, warm climate Chardonnay, which is the new flagship wine of Matawhero – one of the oldest wine brands from Gisborne.
The wine is made from a 1.7 hectare vineyard of Chardonnay grapes grown on Kaiti heavy silt loam soil at 10 metres elevation in Gisborne; the fourth largest wine region in New Zealand. The grapes are all the Mendoza clone – large and small berries are the key characteristic of this clone, and this can favour high concentration of flavour, balanced by variation in acidity and juice in the berries.
The wine was fermented in a mix of American and Hungarian oak.
This wine drinks well now and will hold for another four to five years.
Big and buttery… top Gisborne Chardonnay
2016 Matawhero Church House Chardonnay $25.90
You can expect – and find – plenty to love in this bone dry, full bodied, barrel fermented Gisborne Chardonnay, which is all about creamy freshness and crisp citrus flavours. I love the taste of Chardonnay when its citrusy freshness is encouraged to shine in wines such as this newest vintage of Matawhero Church House Chardonnay 2016, which is made with grapes grown on the Tietjen and Briant vineyards in Gisborne. It’s a mix of different clones and the grapes were harvested when the temperatures were still relatively cool in the morning, which accentuates the wine’s freshness and moderate but refreshing acidity. The finish is long and tasty. This is a stunner.
Glengarry’s and other specialist stores stock this wine and Hancocks is the New Zealand distributor.