Firmly established as one of New Zealand’s premier Bordeaux blends the Te Mata Coleraine Vertical tasting hosted at the splendid Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall this week certainly attracted the elite; Farr Vintners, Stephen Brook, Rosemary George, The Wine Society, Margaret Rand, Guy Woodward and more. On my last trip to New Zealand I failed to have time to visit this family-owned vineyard based in Havelock North with vineyards on the Woodthorpe Terraces and Bridge Pa Triangle as well as Havelock Hills. I was therefore intrigued to see if the hype lived up to the expectations.
On arrival in the Art Deco bar of the Corinthia Hotel we were greeted with a luscious Te Mata Viognier, full of exotic white flowers, delicate white peaches and hints of ginger biscuits on the background, a refreshing start to a barmy London evening.
The Te Mata Coleraine is a Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc blend first made in 1982 – firstly as a single vineyard then from 1989 it was sourced from 30 plots within Te Mata’s 9 vineyards. Peter Cowley has been in charge of winemaking since 1984, although the final selection of the wines that go into the Coleraine are set up by the chosen “Golden 5” who after three weeks of blending, deliberating and discarding each makes their own final sample blend. The five sample bottles are then left for a week where the judges go off on holiday prior to the New Zealand version of ‘The Coleraine X Factor ‘ and each of the “Golden 5” votes for their best blend, with the wining blend going into production.
Te Mata Coleraine 2005
A stunning example of how new world and old world combines, this to me was an absolute star, seamless, the hedonistic rose petals on the nose to the silky smooth damsons, juicy blackberries, hints of bay and slightly dry overtones, but balanced by weight and depth. The purity and length of this wine is immense. Still needs time and will age well.
Te Mata Coleraine 2013
Both 2013 and 2014 were great vintages in Hawkes Bay after a poor 2012, both these wines show how Te Mata continue to develop and improve their wines. The 2013 needs time but certainly was another blockbuster, so well balanced, elegance, liquorice, voluptuous, cassis on nose, deep brambles in the background, chocolate, red currants evolving well. Possibly could get better than the 2005 but I cant wait that long!
Te Mata Coleriane 2014 – latest release
Deep mulberry and rose flower nose, herbaceous, rich and multi layered. Cassis and toasty background, despite the taught tannins there is a lovely richness to this wine and great prospect again, but on the day the 13 was showing better.
Following the vertical tasting we gathered our thoughts over a stupendous glass of Sauvignon Blanc, made greater by the addition of some Semillon and Sauvignon Gris and aged in oak for a year. This was truly a world class wine – called Te Mata Cape Crest SB 14 – layered, textured, bright exotic fruits, but an underlying freshness that brought the whole thing to life. This is the wine that dreams are made from, a clash of rock and roll Loire and cool New World.
Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2014
Succulent plums, black pepper, oriental spices, raspberries mocha. Youthful but a lovely example of how good Syrah from Hawkes Bay can be. Silky, bright and evolving all the time in the glass. Named after the famous Morris Cawley Bullnose vehicle of 1915, whose radiator is on the label.
Te Mata Awatea 2014
Forward, dark fruits perfectly balanced with a texture and classic Hawkes Bay dusty, rich blackberry and bay leaf aromas. Easy forward drinking.
It was a great privilege to try these wines in such a grand environment and to have Nick Buck talk us through the story behind Te Mata. The demand for these wines - especially the Te Mata Coleraine - produces a secondary market in New Zealand. Their cost on release however is very reasonable in the UK and is supplied to the UK by Fells, and through Farr Vintners and The Wine Society. Te Mata's aim continues to be ‘Concentration, Complexity and Elegance'. As Nick Buck says “it’s our heart and soul”.
- published at thebuyer.net, September 2016
Te Mata Estate is pleased to announce Coleraine and Bullnose Syrah as two of the first picks for Air New Zealand’s new ‘Fine Wines of New Zealand’ programme.
Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts, on behalf of Air New Zealand, have named their official ‘Fine Wines of New Zealand’; a list of the country’s most prestigious fine wines that will lead the airline’s upcoming global promotion of New Zealand wine and wine regions.
One of the key criteria for the list was consistency, with a chosen wine having to show an exceptional standard over a minimum of five consecutive years. As part of their 2016 tasting, Air New Zealand bought a thirty-year consecutive vertical of Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine at auction. This Coleraine vertical was tasted with their panel to benchmark both the quality of fine New Zealand wine and its ability to evolve and develop over time.
Nick Buck, Te Mata Estate CEO commented:
“Te Mata’s Coleraine and Bullnose continue to be recognized at the forefront of New Zealand wine, and we look forward to partnering with Air New Zealand in taking New Zealand’s greatest wines to the world.”
The ‘Fine Wines of New Zealand’ selection will start to feature in Air New Zealand Business Premier cabins from September.
A dry winter in 2015 led to a cool spring but with few frosts. December was cool too, with half the usual rainfall, until summer kicked in with a vengeance in one of the biggest seasonal turnarounds we’ve ever seen. Warm days and warm nights prevailed in January, and February was the second hottest on record. We began harvesting sauvignon blanc on the 16th of March. Chardonnay was being handpicked the following day in lovely conditions. Whites were all picked by the 26th, the same day we started on merlot in the Havelock Hills.
March - typically Hawke’s Bay and despite some unsettled weather - ended up with only two thirds the average annual rainfall, and April only a quarter of the usual average. Cabernets, syrahs and all remaining merlot ripened nicely in warm, dry conditions until vintage was wrapped up by April 20th.
We couldn’t be happier with the fruit quality in 2016. The turnaround produced whites that look fresh and vibrant - showing full, ripe flavours and excellent acid balance. Reds appear plump, fruity, and with good levels of ripe tannins. Again, the reds have that depth of colour we’ve seen develop in the last three years, and the 2016 cabernet and merlot look especially promising.
- John Buck, Te Mata Estate Chairman'With the release of the ’13 vintage virtually complete, and the ‘14s just commencing, Hawke’s Bay has wine generated new levels of respect from critics and consumers worldwide.
There’s almost a ‘gee, this region really does cut it’ feeling emerging as people sense they are discovering something for the first time.
Peter Cowley and I were casually chatting about this new, but consistent, commentary the other day, and we got onto attempting to quantify the reasons it is so. And while the reasons to us were self-evident, it did occur to us that to most they were not; and those same reasons in totality describe a very unique region which possesses natural advantages that would be envied by winemakers elsewhere.
In defence of the critics and consumers, it has to be said that Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand has come relatively late to the correct planting material and knowledge of local variations in site and aspect to fully exploit the region’s potential, but that has happened and the resultant wines are now winning friends.
Hawke’s Bay has predominately alluvial soils; terraces created by retreating rivers and glaciers and a plain formed by soil and stones carried toward the Pacific Ocean by its three main rivers, that come from different directions but meet the sea only four kilometres apart. As New Zealand is mountainous, they fall quickly and turbulently.
The north facing slopes contain soils with ash high in silica, potassium and sodium from the eruptions that formed Lake Taupo 26,500 years ago, in the world’s largest known eruption in the past 70,000 years. Seismic forces have created ridges and contours and undulating pockets. So, the landform is without parallel but has something a bit in common with Washington State; not Bordeaux, not Burgundy, not Coonawarra, but uniquely Hawke’s Bay.
One factor, that is not generally known, is that the ultra violet light levels are very high; some claim the highest in the world. Together with the general breeziness of New Zealand, we have two natural elements that keep our grapes at naturally diminished levels of rot and mould, so minimising the need to use sprays.
Hawke’s Bay lies on the East Coast of the North Island at the same latitude south as Valencia or Northern Sonoma are north – 39 degrees – and has the advantage of being in the lee of the prevailing west-to-east wind flows that characterise New Zealand and which ensure the east is relatively drier than the west. While degree-day accumulation, rainfall and the like are measures of climate, a further feature of Hawke’s Bay is its highly varied topography that ensures that it is the specific grape growing sites that matter, rather than a bland, one‑size‑fits all approach; again a natural advantage of the best grape growing regions where pockets, slopes, aspects, water permeability and so on all come into play. It is this feature that enables Hawke’s Bay to grow such a range of varieties and to vinify them in different styles.
The growing season is also characterised by warm summers tempered by proximity to the Pacific Ocean and crisp, clear, short winters, so that budburst is early in the season and there is ample ability to hang fruit until late, so that maximum flavour development is possible, without the need to add sugar, or to add or subtract from the acid levels that ensure the ability of Hawke’s Bay wines to develop in the bottle.
The region sits over an underground aquifer that is re-charged by snow melt. Water takes 20 years to flow across it. In addition, there is no prescriptive regime for vineyard practices such as AOC in France. Therefore the choice of variety is down to the vineyard owner, as is the use of one of the best tools in maintaining grape quality - that of deficit irrigation which ensures balanced ripening and managed stress through until final harvest.
Almost all of the region’s vineyards and wineries are sustainably accredited - an official accreditation subject to annual audit that ensures best practice is followed in all facets of grape growing and winemaking with separate vineyards and individual wineries each requiring their own certification. In addition, the major territorial authority in the grape growing areas, the Hastings District Council, is officially GE free, ie genetically engineered crops are not permitted within its boundaries, so giving further reassurance to consumers as to the integrity of the land-based product of the district. In our chats, Peter and I concluded that no other grape growing region ticked all the boxes the way Hawke’s Bay does. Between us we are familiar with most of them and can research those we don’t know. And all these natural qualities give rise to the style of wines that Hawke’s Bay is gaining international renown for; wines with bright, ripe, fresh fruit flavours and aromas, reds with great colour and delicious fine tannin, and styles that, along with all the great classics, improve markedly when cellared.
We think Hawke’s Bay can fairly demonstrate that, using modern criteria, it is the best naturally equipped region in the world in which to grow quality grapes.
Hawke’s Bay wines are getting better; the rate of improvement is quite remarkable and is faster than in more traditional areas.'
- 23/03/2016 DOWNLOAD AS A PDF
'The single most complete collection of Coleraine wine, dating back to its inception more than 30 years ago, has been auctioned off in Auckland for well over its valuation. The highest bidder was Air New Zealand, which nabbed the 'vertical' (one bottle from every year it was made) for $5,700 net at Webb's Auction house on Tuesday evening.
Te Mata Estate's Coleraine is hailed by many as the premier red this country produces. Its 2013 vintage retailed at $100 a bottle and sold out in just 10 days.'
'Critics agree, that yet again, Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine is New Zealand greatest red wine. The latest release, from the sensational 2013 vintage, has been lauded as the best ever by the world’s top critics.
New Zealand’s Sam Kim of WineOrbit.com, described Coleraine ’13 as ‘Perfection’ awarding it the maximum 100 Points. Masters of Wine Rebecca Gibb and Bob Campbell both declared Coleraine among their ‘Top Wines of 2015’. In naming Coleraine his favourite 2015 wine (in UK magazine Decanter), Bob Campbell said:
‘When Coleraine was first made in 1982, it was light years ahead of any New Zealand red wine produced before that date. It has since become the country’s most iconic wine label.’
International wine critics have followed suit. Nick Stock, writing for JamesSuckling.com USA, praised Coleraine ’13 in his global ‘Top 100 Wines of 2015’. And, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW – editor for RobertParker.com – also named Coleraine ’13 in her three ‘Best New Zealand Wines of 2015’. No wonder Coleraine ‘13 sold out from the winery in just ten days.
Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate remains family owned, producing internationally recognized wines exclusively from its Hawke’s Bay vineyards.'
In 1996 the significance and viticultural heritage of Te Mata Estate and its vineyards was officially recognized in a unique piece of New Zealand legislation. The 'Te Mata Special Character Zone' was formed to commemorate the 'special ambience, wine making history and micro-climate' of the area. This certification recognized our vineyards - established in the nineteenth century - and their heritage value, as New Zealand's first wine appellation.
It was due to the efforts of the Chamber's, Buck, Morris and Cowley families, that the potential of this land will noe be protected and preserved for future generations.
At the end of 2015 Coleraine house, the Buck family home, was awarded the 'Enduring Architecture Award' by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. John and Tobias Buck attended the event with Claire and Zac Athfield. John's speech acknowledged Wendy Buck and Claire Athfield - the two women who inspired himself and Ath, and who contrubuted so greatly to the their lives and family homes. The full NZIA award citation appears below:
'Icon is an overused design word, but there really are few more iconic sights in New Zealand architecture than Coleraine (formerly Buck) House sitting bright white among rows of vines on the slopes of Te Mata Peak. The building is one of the best works of the late Sir Ian Athfield, and thirty-five years after its construction it retains all of its charms. It’s such a famous form that one tends to forget that it has an interior life; for two generations the house has served its owners as a much-loved family home. What does it reference? Colonial farm cottages, the plaster houses of the Mediterranean, its own Athfield antecedents. But whatever it suggests, the house declares its absolute comfort with its situation. Valued and cared for, it stands as a testament to a great architectural talent.'
Renowned poet C.K Stead has been named New Zealand's Poet Laureate for 2015-2017.
Te Mata Estate established the role of Poet Laureate to represent New Zealand's poets, promote and advocate for poetry and to produce published work during the two-year tenure. Chris Szekely, chief librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library who administer the award, said Stead's international presence as a poet, teacher, editor, literary critic and novelist was central to his appointment.
"Karl Stead has been a constant contributor to New Zealand's literary landscape across a range of disciplines for over 60 years," he said.
He will be taking over the reins from 2013-2015 Poet Laureate Vincent O'Sullivan. Previous laureates include Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare and Jenny Bornholdt.
Don't forget to signup to our Membership Club if you want exclusive offers and advance notification of our new release wines. To see behind the scenes of our winery or just to get a feel for the world of Hawke's Bay wine, follow us on Instagram. For tastings, events, the very latest news and critic's reviews then Twitter and Facebook are your best bet. Best wishes from the Te Mata Estate team!
'In an ideal world I'd be on constant live chat to my broker at Berry Bros & Rudd plotting what en premier Bordeaux I'll be buying ... but I'm not because anything with the word 'growth' in it these days is sadly beyond my reach.
New World Bordeaux blends are however and Te Mata Estate's Coleraine Cabernet Merlot will give you just as much pleasure as any super second ... well in my book anyway!
Some of the best drinking experiences over the past 5 years from my cellar have been from this wine ... and to say it pairs well with slow cooked lamb is an understatement. It's that kind of addictive experience you get as you literally want to keep topping your glass again and again.
At $75 RRP Australian you can get 12 of these bad boys for the same price as 1 bottle of Cos Destournel ... if Gordon Gecko was a wine and not a spirits drinker I think he'd agree with that kind of logic.'
- Karel, Buyer at Vinomofo
Published in Grapegrower & Winemaker Magazine, May 2014 - Issue 604