Reds that deliver, big time

Posted 27 April 2015

This column was first published as Cheers in Living magazine in The Herald on Sunday, Auckland, New Zealand, 26 April 2015.

If you were a red grape, then Hawke’s Bay was the place to be in vintage 2013.

Wine is a lot like people really. Treat it well and it repays the favour, but treat it mean and it’s not overly keen on being friendly in return. It all starts in the vineyard with the grapes. Summers that are too cold; autumns that are too wet and even excessive heat can all stop them putting their best foot forward with a tasty balance of natural sugars, refreshing acidity and ripe (rather than astringent) tannins. When the grapes are matched to a region’s climate and the weather conditions are right, the result is spectacular; enter 2010 in Bordeaux and 2013 in Hawke’s Bay. These two maritime wine regions also share some of the same grape varieties, namely merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and also similar soils: free draining gravels. More on Bordeaux later.
The newest big reds from the Bay are beginning to emerge from their crysalis in oak barrels. Talk about smoothly muscular (yes, we are talking wine); the 2013 Te Mata Coleraine $89-$99 and the 2013 Te Mata Bullnose Syrah $50 both share outrageously intense colour, and seductive flavours. Pricey? Well, yes, but these are wines to savour. www.temata.co.nz