Aotea Methode Traditionnelle NV – Anna Seifried

“Winning the title of ‘WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine’ at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine competition for the Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle NV is an exceptional feat in its own right. But for this Nelson winery, gaining such recognition with their first endeavour at a traditional style bubbly is cause for celebration. In 2010 winemaker Chris Seifried and his new bride, Susan spent four weeks in Epernay, in the heart of Champagne where they worked with Seifried family friends at Chateau Bauget-Jouette. It was an opportunity for Chris to see and learn everything he could about making Champagne, a style he had always enjoyed but never ventured to learn.

Inspired to make his own Nelson style of Méthode Traditionnelle, Chris and Susan returned to New Zealand in time for harvest 2011, and along with his father Hermann, and sister Heidi, they identified two of the family’s own vineyards that he felt would offer the fruit characters he was after. In early March 2011, the hand-selected fruit was harvested from the family’s Brightwater and ‘Cornfield’ Vineyards, both on the Waimea Plains. Made using 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, the stony, free-draining soils produced bright, exuberant fruit. Chris credits Hermann and his vineyard team for bringing in fruit that he could work with, “the challenge for the vineyard crew was to ensure full flavoured fruit, with all the character and texture, but without excessively high sugar levels”.

Made using traditional winemaking methods, and four years bottle ageing prior to disgorging, the wine has smooth biscuity notes and a delicate dry finish. Chris says that crafting a traditional style bubbly had its challenges. ‘The aim was to produce bright flavoursome fruit, but the trick when it comes to bubbly really is the bead – and getting a balance of a fine bead, with a rich dry doughiness.’

The Aotea by the Seifried Méthode Traditionnelle NV was released in late 2016, in time for the family’s 40 years of winemaking celebration roadshow, which took place in Dublin, London and Nelson last November. A celebration where Chris acknowledged his parents work as pioneering modern winemaking in New Zealand’s South Island. “With this wine, we celebrate Mum and Dad’s vision, and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. We hope that they too will share the passion for crafting great wines.”

Chris’s eldest child Amelia, was born just six weeks after the grapes for the Méthode Traditionnelle were harvested, and just 15 hours after Heidi Seifried-Houghton, Chris’s sister (who is also a winemaker in the family business) gave birth to her first child, Josef. Now recognised as Seifried’s most fruitful harvest ever, the 2011 vintage not only produced the first grandchildren, but also the grapes for this champion sparkling wine.”

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2017 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards

Wine industry recognises viticultural excellence at 2017 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards

A Cabernet Franc from Canterbury has come out on top at this year’s Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Lindsay Hill, in the Waipara West vineyard located in Canterbury, The Boneline Cabernet Franc 2016 won the coveted Bragato Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show.  The wine also picked up the O-I New Zealand Trophy for Champion Emerging Red Wine.

“This Cabernet Franc was a pleasure to judge, but equally an absolute joy to taste, savour and discuss,” said Chair of Judges Ben Glover. “This wine is certainly all about a single site… A real treat”.

Fourteen trophies in total were awarded and the geographical spread was diverse, with four going to Marlborough; three each going to Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury and Otago; and one going to Nelson.

The Bragato Wine Awards recognise the grower for viticultural excellence and acknowledges that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making wines of true quality.  For the first time in the competition’s 23 year history, all wines entered in 2017 had to be single vineyard wines.

“By making the shift to a single vineyard show, we’re allowing our industry to express the Turangawaewae of their distinctive sites,” said Mr Glover.

The Bragato Wine Awards are held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference.  The Champion Wine of the Show was announced at the Conference Dinner last night. For more information visit www.bragato.org.nz.

For further information please contact:

Rod Easthope
Panel Chair
Bragato Wine Awards
0274 666 0046
rodeasthope@windowslive.com

Or

Angela Willis
Manager – Global Events
New Zealand Winegrowers
021 552 071
angela@nzwine.com

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Villa Maria and George’s cellar


Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. Villa Maria and George’s cellar comes from The Sunday Sediment.

Sir George Fistonich
Sir George Fistonich

A true New Zealand original, Villa Maria Wine Estates, is over 55 years old, proudly displayed the Glengarry Wineletters from the early days, front and centre. You do have to appreciate what it has taken over the years to get this world-class, family-owned winery to its prestigious position, and you can put it down to the talent, attention to detail, and sheer determination of its founder Sir George Fistonich and his team.

Nick Picone
Nick Picone

Consisting of Villa Maria itself, plus the Vidal, Esk Valley and Te Awa Collection, we tip our hats to the wonderful consistency of quality that exists across VMs entire portfolio. Nick Picone is Villa Marias Group Chief Winemaker and has been with the company for 18 years and counting. A multiple winner of Winemaker of the Year titles and listed as one of the worlds young winemakers to watch, he is an asset to the New Zealand wine industry.

VM Library release Cab Sauv & Merlot/Cab Sauv

The nowadays iconic George Fistonich (that’s ‘Sir George’ to you mere mortals) decided a while ago to start selecting wines from exceptional parcels with a thought to aging them and releasing them in very limited quantities via the cellar door and through selected retailers (that would be us). The wines are at the ultra-premium level, and having been already aged by Villa Maria themselves, they are good to go, and very favourably priced for what’s in the bottle. Villa Maria, then, at its finest. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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Sussex Winery receives prestigious title at the inaugural UK Wine Awards

(English Wine Producers – 26 July 2017)

The Bolney Wine Estate was delighted to receive the prestigious ‘Winery of the Year’ award at the inaugural UK Wine Awards. Spearheaded by English Wine Producers’ Julia Trustram Eve and members of the EWP and the UK Vineyards Association, the UK Wine Awards is the national competition for wine produced from grapes grown in England and Wales, inspired by the growing popularity of English and Welsh wines.

The respected title for the Sussex-based winery, which is run by Sam Linter, is testament to the hard work Sam and her team have put into The Bolney Wine Estate. The ethos at the winery is to produce the best wines possible and ensure quality is at the heart of everything – something which has clearly paid off. The high standards Sam has set – from maintaining the highest level of viticulture and vinification to the training the staff receive – has seen the winery go from strength to strength.

Sam Linter, Winemaker and MD of Bolney Wine Estate comments: “We are over the moon to have won ‘Winery of the Year’ at the UK Wine Awards – we still can’t quite believe it! It’s such a prestigious accolade and an endorsement of the hard work each and every one of us at Bolney puts into our wines. We’re delighted that UK wine is finally getting the attention it deserves – and we’re incredibly excited for what the future holds for the industry.”

Bolney also won ‘Top Still Wine’ and ‘Most Outstanding Single Varietal Wine’ for its Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016 with judges remarking it is “a delightful example of Pinot Gris; pure, expressive and fragrant with notes of honeysuckle and spiced pear.” A dry white wine with fragrant aromas of rose, jasmine and conference pear, the palate is wonderfully rich and creamy with a slightly honeyed character – a perfect summer’s wine.

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Giesen’s Wines – June 2017

June is always a challenging month for arranging a wine tasting as the weather can be adverse and once we get home, often means that we can be reluctant to leave again. Last month’s tasting was like that with a really unpleasant Wellington day.

Still, 28 hearty souls made it to our tasting that night and were rewarded with an excellent presentation from Richard Macdonald. Richard’s knowledge of Giesen and their product was insightful as he led us through 3 whites, 3 reds and a Rose.

This Rose was delightful, even on a cold wintery night with good fruit and a soft lingering taste. Interestingly it was also the wine most ordered on the night. Other wines enjoyed, if the orders are anything to go by, were the 2014 Brothers Gewürztraminer and 2013 Brothers Pinot Noir. This latter wine also provided a reminder that Marlborough vineyards with a touch of age are now beginning to provide pinots that a real value for money as their quality begins to match their cousins from Martinborough and Central Otago.

Another wine to surprise on the night was the Organic Sauvignon Blanc that was used as our meet and greet wine. This had great fruit flavour without that aggressive grassy nose that many other SBs from this region often have, well to me anyway, and consequently, I very much enjoyed it as our starter for the evening.

The whites ended with the much celebrated 2014 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay. Fuder, refers to the type of barrel used. It’s much larger than what we normally see in NZ and its purpose to evolve the texture of the wine without overpowering it with oak. It certainly did this for me and with its full body and slightly citrus notes, it was a wine that I had been really looking forward to tasting, given it had won Elite Gold at the 2016 Air NZ Wine Awards. The only disappointment was that I could not afford the $50 order form cost, despite its discounted value, as I decided to purchase the 2012 Eight Songs Shiraz instead.

Giesens are also the NZ agent for a small range of Peter Lehman reds. Richard ended our tasting with two of these, the 2014 Hills & Valley Shiraz and the 2012 Eight Songs Shiraz. The latter, if I’m not wrong, was probably the most expensive Shiraz the club has tasted, although last year’s 2013 Elderton Neil Ashmead Grand Tourer Shiraz did come close.

The 2012 Eight Songs was named after one of Peter Lehman’s favourite vocal ensemble musical works, loved for its soft harmonies. Apparently, this inspired Peter Lehman to emulate that artistry in a wine and it has resulted in a very soft stylish wine that is quite foreboding with its very black core, yet elegant with its lovely integration of mocha chocolate and dark plum characteristics.
A great tasting from Richard Macdonald and one that I think many would be sad that they missed.

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Pic’s Peanut Butter and Devonport Chocolate win at Great Taste Awards

Now available in five markets country-wide, Pic Picot's peanut butter has been making waves in the UK.
Now available in five markets country-wide, Pic Picot’s peanut butter has been making waves in the UK.

THOMAS HEATON | Last Updated 12:13, November 4, 2016

Two Kiwi palate-pleasing products have been named among the best in the world at the “food Oscars”.

Devonport Chocolates and Pic’s Peanut Butter have both been recognised with a single star at the international 2016 Great Taste Awards.

Run by the Guild of Fine Food; the competition involved more than 400 judges from various backgrounds. All 10,000 entrants were blind tasted over 49 days of judging.

Revered as the “Oscars” of the food world, Pic’s owner Pic Picot said the win was a marvellous result.

“It’s great to see our peanut butter hitting the right note with UK tastebuds,” Picot said.

Well-known for their chocolate high-heels, Devonport Chocolates took one star for their 80 per cent Single Origin Trinitario Moa Estate Samoan Islands dark chocolate.

Devonport is known for their chocolate footwear, but their 80% dark chocolate got them a star on the world stage.
Devonport is known for their chocolate footwear, but their 80% dark chocolate got them a star on the world stage.

The small-batch chocolate is made of beans from the Moa Estate in Upolu, Samoa, and blended with Bundaberg sugar in Devonport, Auckland.

Three stars are the highest rating a product can get, while the one-star status means the products are “simply delicious”.

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From Central Otago to Argentina

Next meeting

2016-02-4-56b3ba6b22565We are moving from Central Otago all the way to Argentina for our next meeting. This will be an interesting tasting and we hope you will give the evening your support.

Wine awards

Members may remember that in March 2013 we had a presentation including Lansdowne Estate in Masterton. Please have a look at the “In the News” item. Lansdowne continues to receive international accolades for their wines and the opening of a bottle produced from the same land in 1903 has further enhanced their reputation.

Also noted that Lowburn Ferry, featured in the Artisan collection last month, have won an award for their Pinot Noir in Sydney. The industry continues to shine internationally.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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Hawke’s Bay Syrah takes top spot at 2015 Air NZ wine awards

A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the top prize at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, presented last night at Nelson’s Saxton Stadium.

The Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 won the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, as well as the Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 was one of the fuller-bodied Syrahs in this year’s competition.

“It’s a wine with lovely ripe black fruit and floral Syrah characters, and very well-handled subtle oak influence,” said Mr Brajkovich. “The palate is full-bodied, with rich berry fruit and firm tannins to fill out the finish and ensure a long maturation potential.

“Syrah provided a quality class of wine, displaying a diversity of styles from fresh, vibrant peppery and herbal, to full-bodied rich and ripe black-fruit styles, with significant oak impact and earthy tannins.”

There were strong trophy contenders across the 16 classes, but the winners prevailed by having that “extra something special”, Mr Brajkovich said.

The second highest accolade of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, went to the Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. This exceptional Chardonnay also won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Bruce Parton said the airline was a longstanding partner of the New Zealand wine industry, which continued to produce some of the world’s best wines.

“We’ve been a proud sponsor of the awards for 29 years, and are passionate about promoting home-grown wines and showcasing New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism.”

“It’s been fantastic to see such a large number of entries in this year’s competition from wineries across the country. We wish to congratulate all medal and trophy winners.”

As well as the 18 trophies awarded, 36 Pure Elite Gold Medals and one Elite Gold Medal were announced at the dinner, which was emceed by TV3’s Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. This year’s competition saw 1,407 wines entered, 99 percent of which were accredited as being sustainably produced.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for 40 years.

Air NZ wine awards 2015 – Trophy winners

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014

Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014

Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Bite Magazine Champion Sweet Wine
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

Guala Closures New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Gris
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

New World Champion Open White Wine
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015

Port Nelson Limited Champion Other White Styles
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Toast by Liquorland Champion Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

WineWorks Limited Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Rangitikei Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014

Nelson Airport Limited & Nelson Tasman Tourism Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Beach House Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Number of trophies by region:

Marlborough: 9
Hawke’s Bay: 5
Nelson: 3
Otago: 1

Pure Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014
Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Pinot Gris
Greystone Pinot Gris Waipara Valley 2015
Isabel Pinot Gris Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Riesling
Ceres Black Rabbit Vineyard Riesling Central Otago 2015
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015
Spy Valley Envoy Riesling Marlborough 2010

Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Vidal Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

Chardonnay
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2013
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Nautilus Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Villa Maria Library Release Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Sweet Wine
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

Pinot Noir
Akitu A2 Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014
Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Ridge Block Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013
Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014
Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Other Varieties – Single
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Daniel Le Brun Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc De Blancs Marlborough 2009

Number of pure elite gold medals by region

Marlborough: 19
Hawke’s Bay: 8
Central Otago: 5
Nelson: 3
Waipara Valley: 1

Elite gold medal by region

Marlborough: 1

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Growers welcome TPP, New World wine awards

Wine growers welcome TPP – Radio NZ, 7 Oct

Philip Gregan, the CEO for NZ Winegrowers said the trade deal agreed yesterday would provide improved access into key TPP markets and a secure rules-based system that would help improve market access. “TPP countries account for about 60 percent of our wine exports at the moment and we face tariffs going into a number of those countries, including the United States, Canada and Japan – and as we understand it, those tariffs are going to be eliminated. So that’s a great deal for NZ wine exporters,” Mr Gregan said.

He said at current volumes, the TPP would be worth at least $10 million a year to wine exporters, and they had great ambitions to export considerably more in the years to come. “Some of our competitor countries such as Australia have had the benefit of free trade agreements going into the United States. This is going to place us on an equal footing with them, which is great.”

The “New World” Wine Awards – 8 Oct

The New World Wine Awards Champion wines are proving to be more popular than ever this year. The Champion Pinot Gris, The Luminary Martinborough Pinot Gris 2014, and the Champion Sparkling Wine, Hunter’s MiruMiruTM NV, are on the brink of selling out just ten days since the awards were announced on 28 September.

:The fact that the Champion Pinot Gris and the Champion Sparkling Wine have been snapped up so quickly reflects the recognition among consumers of the credibility of the New World Wine Awards for identifying top quality wines at affordable prices,” says Jim Harré, chair of the judging panel.

While there might be limited opportunities for consumers to buy the Champion Pinot Gris and the Champion Sparkling Wine given they are close to selling out, the good news is there are lots of other Gold medal wines showcased in New World’s 137 supermarkets nationwide, in the New World Wine Awards 2015 booklet and on the internet.

In order to be eligible for entry to the New World Wine Awards the wines entered must retail for $25 or less and there must be at least 5,000 bottles available for sale.

This year there were 1,309 entries in the New World Wine Awards, including a full range of varietals. The 13-strong independent panel of wine experts who judged the wines using the same internationally recognised points system as all other major wine shows awarded 86 Gold, 236 Silver and 483 Bronze medals.

Hawke’s Bay Young Winemaker of the Year

News from Ash Ridge – 3 Aug 2015

lauren-swiftBig nights out are becoming a bit of an occupational hazard at Ash Ridge, and last Friday was no exception. Our very own Lauren Swift was crowned the Hawke’s Bay Young Winemaker of the Year, in the inaugural competition held at a gala dinner at Mission Winery. Up against some stiff competition, with winemakers from Dry River, Te Awa, Elephant Hill and Mission, the contestants had to perform a series of tasks over the whole day, covering all aspects of winemaking.

Lauren now goes into the national final against the winners of the Central Otago and Marlborough regional competitions, later in August, so we will be cheering her on. But what a fantastic accolade for a young and very talented winemaker, we are very proud (and a little bit hungover!)

Other Accolades

The 2014 wines continue to accumulate awards and great reviews.

The 2014 Estate Syrah has received 92 points from Bob Campbell, 4 stars from Michael Cooper and has just won a Silver Medal at the Spiegelau Wine Awards. And this is the entry level 2014 Syrah!

Our 2014 Estate Merlot also was awarded a Silver at the Speiglau Wine Awards, whilst the Chardonnay received a Bronze. So once again all the wines we entered were awarded medals, a great result.

ashridge-logoUpcoming News/Events

We are planning another event in conjunction with Summer FAWC (beginning of November), to be held at Ormlie Lodge in Taradale. Details will be announced soon and we will keep you in touch. This is an exciting White Wine themed event to keep in the spirit of spring.

We are of course working towards the next release in November. We are currently in the stages of bottling the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and Rose, all ready for summer, as well as something new! If you did enjoy the wines in the May release, we have been asked by a few people about reordering. Please send me an email,chris@ashridgewines.co.nz, or call the cellar door on 06 650 4324 to take advantage of wine club pricing.

Regards

Chris and the team.

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Hawke’s Bay – NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region

Over thousands of years, 5 major Hawke’s Bay rivers moved and formed valleys and terraces to create over 25 different soil types from clay loam, to limestone, to sandy and free draining gravels and red metal.

Read all about NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region or download and read later.

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Ash Ridge Wines – Feb 2015

Date: Wednesday 11 February, 2015

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members or guests $10, member with a guest $14.

Presenter: Simon Bell, Sales Manager. An EIT graduate, Simon spends his time ensuring that the public has access to Ash Ridge wines whether through the cellar door or charming the wine trade to ensure that you can enjoy our wines in restaurants and shops around the country.

Wines offered at the tasting are likely to include:

  • 2014 Ash Ridge Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Chardonnay
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Viognier
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2014 Ash Ridge Rosé
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Syrah
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve “The Blend”

Background

In January 2014, in their biggest step to date, Ash Ridge opened a brand new Winery on their home site in Maraekakaho. The 100 tonne winery was designed to offer all modern winemaking facilities in a boutique size, allowing them to be truly hands on in their winemaking. The small winemaking team can nurture the process from vineyard to bottle.

Ash Ridge wines are all hand-crafted, single estate wines which reflect the unique vineyard location, the passion for winemaking and the premium quality that they make. Ash Ridge produce premium Hawkes Bay Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

In order to create a range of Bridge Pa Triangle wines they have partnered with the Peet Vineyard. The vineyard is based on an ash pumice ridge of soil, and is planted in sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon. In more recent years they have also partnered with neighbour Shawn Hill, of Raptor Rise Vineyard, to source Malbec and Viognier grapes. With the vineyard being over the fence and on the same soil they are truly staying local.

Tasting review

Anne opened the evening with a thud and spilt wine. One of the tables with Ash Ridge wines broke sending bottles all over the place. What an introduction for Simon to the Cellar Club. Anne went on to thank Simon and Ash Ridge Wines for their effort in replacing Man O’ War at short notice. We’ll have Man O’ War presenting in October.

A gifted and passionate speaker, Simon spoke in some detail about the Bridge Pa Triangle convincing even the most steadfast Gimblett Gravels supporter that wines from Bridge Pa are worth more than a passing sip. In fact it’s those differences that gives Ash Ridge wines that expression of the terroir in which the grapes are grown. This was expressed exquisitely across the range of wines tasted.

Read Yvonne Lorkin's review of Ash Ridge Wines
Read Yvonne Lorkin’s review of Ash Ridge Wines

Simon had obviously presented Ash Ridge Wines a few times before because his knowledge of the winery, the wines being produced and allround wine knowledge was outstanding.

After a brief history lesson of Ash Ridge Wines, it wasn’t that bad in fact it made you realise just how much effort has gone into developing the vineyard since 2000, Simon got into his stride with the tasting. Simon’s wine knowledge allowed members to understand nuances between Ash Ridge and other regions in New Zealand and around the world. This made interesting listening and even taught us a thing or two.

The wines selected for the night showcased all Ash Ridge wine styles. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was definitely Hawkes Bay, tropical rather than grassy. The Chardonnays were very fruit driven with the Estate making an exceptional replacement for non-savvy drinkers with its acidity just right for seafood and salads but would go just as well with most meats. The Viognier was elegant and true to its style.

The Syrah was well rounded needing several years, I’d suggest five to seven, to reach its potential so well worth stocking up on.

The showstopper of the night for most members was the first release of five varietals that make-up “The Blend”. Well balanced with great mouth feel now just wait ten to fifteen years for it to develop further. We were privileged to be the first outside Ash Ridge’s own cellar club to taste this wine.

A great evening with wines representative of the terror from a winery voted Winery of the Year 2014 at the Hawkes Bay Bayleys A&P. The only truly boutique winery to do so.

Tip: Start collecting “The Blend” as I’m sure overtime it will get as great a following as similar wine styles like Quintology, Sophia, Talisman and others.

When next visiting Ash Ridge Wines, ask about joining the Cellar Club.

Cheers Steve

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