For the last four decades or so, wine producers in Hawke’s Bay have been (in their own understated way) out there trying to convince the world that their Bordeaux-style reds (wines made from merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot) are just as good, if not better in some cases, as the big guns from Bordeaux. Hawke’s Bay has the warm days, the cool nights, the dry, clean heat, the perfect, deep, gravelly soils and (so so important) an incredible depth of grapegrowing and winemaking talent to put our little East Coast region on a par with France. Yet the proof is in the tasting of course. While many comparative Bordeaux vs Hawke’s Bay tastings have occurred over the years, they’ve mostly been limited to the trade and the press, which isn’t that helpful to enthusiastic wine fans such as yourselves. Until now. As part of the annual Winter F.A.W.C (Hawke’s Bay Food & Wine Classic) season, wine journalist, wine historian, wine collector and national treasure Geoff Kelly, is hosting a unique workshop comparing the 2000 vintage from Bordeaux, with top wines from the same Hawke’s Bay vintage (plus an example each from Waiheke Island and Coonawarra for ANZAC spirit). You’ll be tasting them ‘blind’ meaning you won’t know what they are or where they’re from until the big reveal, which is always fun. 2000 was an elegant, measured vintage in Hawke’s Bay and the best vintage in a decade for Bordeaux – so eighteen years on, I’m sure they’ll be drinking darn beautifully.

Representing the antipodean contingent will be the 2000 Alpha Domus Aviator, Mills Reef Merlot Elspeth, Ngatarawa Alwyn, Petaluma Coonawarra Cabernet / Merlot, the 2000 Stonyridge Larose and the 2000 Te Mata Coleraine. Being uncorked from Bordeaux will be the 2000 Ch Angludet, (Margaux), the Ch Lanessan, Cussac (Haut Medoc), the Clos René, (Pomerol), Ch Grand Corbin-Despagne (St Emilion), Ch Leoville Poyferre (St Julien) and the 2000 Ch Pichon-Longueville-Baron (Pauillac).

Make sure you book yourself a place and be part of something memorable. Friday 15th June 6.30pm Te Awa Winery, 2375 SH50 Hastings. $85 per person go to

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Te Awa Single Estate Hawke’s Bay Tempranillo $29.99 (4.5 stars)
Hands up if you even knew tempranillo was being grown in Hawke’s Bay? Not many if any I’ll vouch. The grape responsible for producing the great Rioja’s of Spain has found a happy home smack bang in the middle of the Gimblett Gravels and it’s thriving. Chock full of intense dark berries, intense dark cocoa, intense dark leather, it’s so dark it’s like the Darth Vadar of wine. I love the meatiness and black olive notes on the finish.

Mount Brown Waipara Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $16 (3.5 stars)
There’s something about the North Canterbury soils and the drying, Nor’west winds that create incredibly floral, super-concentrated sauvignon blanc. Lime, lemongrass, elderflower and bruised basil combine with passionfruit and tropical tones, cut grass and sweet pea combine with crunchy acidity to make a zesty, sexy sip indeed.


Don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want a wine that’s going to cuddle my tastebuds and warm the mood at any soiree…

Mount Brown Barrique Ferment Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $19 (3.5 stars)
Here’s a sauvignon blanc for chardonnay fans. Roasty, toasty and tropically taut and crisp, it’s bursting with smoked passionfruit punchiness and a lick of lemongrass on the finish. A very drinkable, in fact dangerously drinkable example..

I Am George Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2016 $22 (4 stars)
George Wyndham is considered the founding father of shiraz in Australia, planting the grape in 1830. Winemaker Steve Meyer wanted to create a wine that was accessible to anyone, but captured the spirit of George – and here it is. Bursting with blackcurrant, plum and all manner of sweet, red fruits, it’s a warming, cuddly shiraz that’ll wow the crowds.

Hãhã Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017 $17.99 (4 stars)
First things first. The fact that this wine sells for under $20 is baffling to me. It roars with stonefruit and citrus and has just the right amount of roasty toasty, hazelnutty flavours to kick it into ‘must-sip’ territory. Ripe, tropical, round and rumpty – just the way I like my chardonnay. Yum.