This week I headed down to Thames for a wine dinner that UK wine agents, Hatch Mansfield, were putting on. Gordon Russell was over from the Esk Valley vineyards in Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. I don’t get lucky enough to drink much wine from there that often, so it was a real treat for me to head down and have go at what they’re up to.
The Wine Was Flowing
Having messed my timing up I rocked up about half an hour before anyone else, with two pretty useful upsides. First up I got to have a chat with Gordon on his own for a bit, get to know a bit about his background and what makes him tick and all that. I also got a headstart on trying some of the wines he’d brought along. 12 in all and as the night went on we had a little go at all of them, big favourites on the night were the Riesling, the Pinot Noir, and of course the famous Terraces!
The Winemaking Theory Is Great
Esk Valley “The Terraces” is a bit of a legend of Hawkes Bay. Actually scrap that, it’s a bit of a legend of New Zealand reds. Single vineyard, hand selected bunches, and only made in top years. This really was an absolute treat to try. It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, and the interesting thing here is that they’re all co-fermented. Usually separate grapes are kept apart, fermented separately, and then blended after fermenting and maturing in barrels. Not here. Gordon and his team throw the lot in the pot as it were, ferment and mature them all in one go, and the desired result is that you get the full taste of the vineyard in that year. As with everything in life, if you can be good AND different you’re onto a winner!
Where Can You Get It?
So maybe don’t just take my word for it. Fiona from Hatch kindly and sensibly stuck in a little slip into our wine packs with where you can get these wines from. There are all kinds of indies around the UK, but the name that keeps cropping up is www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk. Get on there, have a browse, pick up a couple and let us know how you get on.
QUESTION: Has anyone got into Hawkes Bay wines before? Any favourites we should keep an eye out for?