New lease of life for an old Kiwi winery

One of Hawke’s Bay’s best known wineries has new owners and is once again entirely a New Zealand owned company.
Mitch Plaw, director and one of the new Trinity Hill owners says he sees significant opportunities to grow Trinity Hill and looks forward to being part of its growth and development in the future.”
The Hawke’s Bay based winery was founded in 1993 and was one of the best known early pioneers of wines made made from grapes grown on the now well known Gimblett Gravels sub-region.
The new owners are private investors who are passionate about the wine industry. Mitch Plaw and business partners Craig Turner, Mark Sandelin and Michael Nock will continue to operate the business and have plans for significant future growth and expansion. All of the winery’s current staff remain and members of the group say they feel more positive about the future of Trinity Hill than they have for years. Win win.
Watch this space for more.

If you can’t beat it, join the rage for rosé

Southern French rosé may be the apex of dry, pale pink, light bodied wines to drink chilled in summer, but everybody is getting in on the act these days. The best of them live up to their refreshing promises but there have traditionally been few really high notes. This is changing, as a tasting this week of a $50 dry Spanish rosé (deep in colour but bone dry) showed me. There’s precious little of that wine so in lieu of suggesting it’s worth trying to track down something that’s impossible to find, here are three light to medium bodied pink wines that punch above what their price suggests.

2020 Urlar Gladstone Pinot Rosé $25
Here is a rosé with more colour, more flavour and firmer tannins than most made from Pinot Noir in New Zealand today. And that’s why I like it.
Winemaker Jannine Rickards used Pinot Noir clones 115 and 114 which she soaked briefly for colour before pressing them to tank; most fermented in stainless steel with a small portion in old French oak barrels. She also added a portion of clone 5 Pinot Noir which was hand and fermented as whole clusters in a sealed tank. This gives the wine structure and power. It contains a miniscule amount of residual sugar with 1.26 grams per litre.
I love this style. It tastes flavoursome, refreshing and every sip lingers.
* Urlar means of the earth and this wine is certified organic with BioGro NZ.
18.5/20

2020 Main Divide Rosé North Canterbury $21.99
Looks can be deceiving, as in the case of this pale pink, super  flavoursome rosé, which is made by the Donaldson family, whose eldest son, Mat, is chief winemaker of the talented team in charge of this wine. It’s made from the free run juice of a range of grape varieties grown in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, at Pegasus Bay’s vineyards. It tastes dry, spicy and has concentrated dried red berry flavours, backing up a refreshing pink wine with depth.
18.5/20

Rosabel Vin de France $19.99
Southern French rosé is the apex of dry, pale pink, refreshing light bodied wines to drink chilled on hot days. And the best of them live up to this promise. Rosabel is made from grapes grown in several regions around the Mediterranean, hence the name ‘vin de France’, which refers to its multi region blend. It tastes soft, creamy and fresh with red berry flavours, a hint of sweetness mid palate, nicely balanced by a dry finish.
17.5/20

Read more of my thoughts about rosé over on Beauty EQ’s weekly blog here

Wines of the week – the full force of authentic wine

I often think of Riesling as a breath of fresh air but today, at an incredibly raw and moving funeral, at which I was a virtual guest, I heard a far more apt description. It is like the full force of the Wellington wind on a gusty day. It’s not for the faint hearted. Its strong personality, captured in its edgy qualities of high acidity, powerful citrus aromas, often tempered with a little sweetness, is one of my favourite expressions of nature in liquid form. As I wrote this week’s column, I was reminded of the beauty of authenticity in people, expressed with strength and realness at the outstanding tribute to Matt Hayes, who passed away this year due to an aneurism while surfing, aged 43. He left behind a wife, children, siblings and both parents; who I know well and hugely respect.

This column is my weekly take on the best new wines I have tried in the course of life as a writer and wine adviser. It is with a heavy heart that I raise a big toast to a person who made a big imprint on all of those who knew and loved him – Matt Hayes.

Under $20

2017 Main Divide Riesling $20.99

Okay, well it can be under $20 but for a very small fraction more, this wine offers the absolute best of Kiwi Riesling for the price. This tasty medium dry Riesling is the little brother of the famously well known and loved Pegasus Bay Riesling. Both are superlative wines and this one has freshness, body and deliciousness to burn thanks to late harvested grapes accentuating its intensity citrusy appeal.

Over $20

2020 Whitehaven Marlborough Riesling $23

Whitehaven is a big winery making small volumes of Riesling in terms of  overall production. And what a Riesling it is. Affordable, refreshing and leading the charge to dry styles with 7.1 grams per litre of residual sugar, which makes it off dry, but only just. This light touch of natural grape sweetness brings balance to the bracing acidity that is inherent in Riesling; its defining ingredient when it comes to brightness in youth and longevity in ageability. This wine drinks well now but will come into its own in another five years’ time.

The sky’s the limit

2019 Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling $38

Bel Canto Dry  Riesling is one of New Zealand’s most powerful white wines with its recognisably maverick personality and incredible potential for aging in the long term. It is made from grapes grown in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, which were hand harvested with a portion of noble botrytis at 25 brix. This high level of sweetness makes for a wine that tastes ripe and rich in style while being fermented to as close to dry as possible, with 6 grams of residual sugar per litre. A little carbon dioxide at bottling adds a spritzy quality to this wine to accentuate its freshness. I love this wine.