Presented by Amy Hopkinson-Styles of Halcyon Wines on 16th October 2019.

Four chardonnay’s selected by the committee:

  1. Te Awanga Estate Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2017 $30

Aromas of cleansing stonefruit, lemon, pineapple, grilled grapefruit, solid acidity yet an underlying creamy macadamia-like mid-palate.  Very pretty and fine.

  1. Smith & Sheth CRU Mangatahi Chardonnay 2015 $40

Showing that struck match and gunflint character of a sulphide-centric chardonnay, shows a smoke-infused backbone, bacony, and intensely mineral.  Polarising.

  1. Tony Bish Skeetfield Chardonnay 2017 $60

Golden in the glass and showing soft peachy, creamy aromatics, yet in the mouth it has lemony freshness, opulence yet crisp acidity and zing.  Nutty notes and attractively textured, from the Ohiti sub-region it’s got finesse and a long finish.

  1. Vidal Estate Legacy Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016 $60

Holy moly!  It’s like the Bugatti of chardy, and it almost feels as though it’s erupting from the glass – like the bottle has been criminally witholding its talents!  Intense stonefruit and grapefruity goodness, solid acidity, the oak is beautifully managed and it’s framed beautifully.  “A lovely line and very smart” says John Saker.


Four syrah wines were selected by the committee

  1. Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Le Sol Syrah 2016 $125

Intoxicating perfume of cocoa, spiced cherries, peppercorns, leather, and in the mouth the tannins are silky yet finely-tuned, deliciously dusty,

2. Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah 2015 $53

Aromatically this wine erupts with boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant, the mouthfeel is seductive, leather-clad, mineral-focused and magical.  Finely balanced and shows superb texture.

3. Bilancia La Collina 2015 $111

Redcurrant, cherry, raspberry and pepper  – a faint whiff of 4711 cologne, tannins still solid.  Bay leaf, clove, tomato leaf,

4. Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2016 $70

How sexy and seductive is that colour!  Deeply inky with crimson tones, and showing dense, cocoa and raspberry perfume and the pepper is sprinkled in the background.  Full and buxom and showing incredible length of flavour.

5. Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah 2018 $72

Silky-textured and opens up in the glass beautifully.

Other Reds Selected by the Committee..

  1. Pask Declaration Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2013 $50

Developing into the sweet leather and savoury end of the spectrum, hints of prune and pepper, bay and flax and vibrant spices.  Good solid acidity and length.

  1. Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 $29

Black tea, leather, bay leaf, body and heft yet there’s an elegance, appleskin tannins, good grip and beautiful personality.

  1. Babich Irongate Cabernet Merlot Franc 2015 $34

Such an outstanding peacocks tail of aromatics, yet it’s far more restrained on the palate and I really like that.  muscular and magic to taste.

  1. Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2016 $119

Stylishly constructed, exotically perfumed, bay, pepper, leather, cocoa and red fruits abound.  Vibrant mouthfeel, silky and fresh – it’s just a puppy.

  1. Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016 $70

Roasting pan juices, savoury, meaty notes, a pepper core and earthy notes, the tannins are seesawing spectacularly and that’s a great thing.