When Te Mata Estate - where the first wines flowed in 1895 - unveiled several of it's 2017 whites and 2018 reds I was looking for the signs of challenging vintages. the good news is that the 2018s look delicious young and the Coleraine '17 is as classy as ever.'
COLERAINE '17 - FIVE STARS
Since the debut 1982 vintage, Coleraine has stood out for its fragrance, complexity and subtlety.This is a full-coloured, mouth-filling red with notably concentrated, well ripened blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, braced by firm tannins, and impressive harmony.
'Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine is a New Zealand national treasure. Since its first vintage in 1982, Coleraine has been a benchmark for Cabernet-centric reds made in New Zealand, with a remarkable track record for high quality and age-worthiness.
Consistency of quality and style – silky textures, savory-and-sweet fruit balance, and lively acidity – have been the hallmarks since day one.
Te Mata Coleraine is an ever-evolving wine, as its vineyards mature and small refinements are made to winemaking. Phil Brodie and the Buck family are tasked with keeping this legendary New Zealand wine estate on track and there is no reason that they won’t.’
Concentrated purple fruit, violet aromas, accenting chocolate notes and crunchy acidity that promises a long life in the cellar. Fine tannins and lengthy finish.
Just might be the perfect Coleraine, with inviting floral aromas, wellripened red and black fruit, great concentration and nervy acidity. The tannins are firm yet mature, the youthful presentation bold and rich. I would happily revisit Te Mata to taste this wine in 2023.
From its saturated purple colour to its dense black fruit palate and aromas, this is a wine to put away for a decade or more. Quite tannic and reserved now. It promises great things in the future.
'The auction of a unique collection of Te Mata Coleraine not only made a stir within the wine media, it also made the record books.
The result, which saw the 32-vintage collection of Coleraine fetch $19,000, left Te Mata Estate's sales and marketing manager Toby Buck smiling.
The news raced across the winemaking and wine media landscape with Fine & Rare Wines specialist Marcus Atkinson noting that the result had effectively made it two records in a row for Te Mata Estate. In 2016 a Coleraine vertical collection went for $6,500 under the hammer at an auction in Auckland. It equated to $195 a bottle and became the largest single wine collection and overall auction price for any New Zealand wine.
"Until now," he said.
"At almost $600 a bottle this is the highest auction price achieved for any collection of New Zealand wine," he said of the recent auction staged in Napier as a build-up to the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction next month.
The result came as no surprise for many wine writers, including several from across the Tasman. Huon Hooke of Australia's The Real Review described Coleraine as 'a great wine from the very first vintage'. Andrew Graham of The Australian Wine Review said Coleraine possessed a reputation for unwavering consistency. 'Please world, make every vertical like this.'
Earlier this month The Australian featured a profile of Te Mata Estate and described its Coleraine as 'a beautifully elegant expression of Hawke's Bay that has cemented its reputation as one of New Zealand's finest wines'.
Coleraine connoisseurs and devotees have only a little over four months to wait for the next addition to the globally-lauded line.'
'Some would say that Te Mata’s Coleraine was the first true iconic wine of New Zealand. The first vintage of Coleraine caused a stir when it came in 1982 but it wasn’t without a precedent. Te Mata Estate had already been making well-respected wines for many years before and the estate, whose first vintage was in 1896, is in fact the oldest winemaking property in New Zealand. It is partly due to Te Mata’s long history and experience that Coleraine was celebrated quite early on as one of New Zealand’s finest wines. But also because Coleraine hit the nail on the head in terms of combining grape variety with terroir and proved that Hawke’s Bay, and indeed New Zealand, was capable of making world class red blends.
Te Mata Estate has many different soil profiles and mesoclimates in their vineyards. Varying degrees of alluvial gravels, silts and sand make up the vineyard soils and parcels each have different exposures, slopes (or plains) and mesoclimates. This, in combination with the different grape varieties, is what the family believes gives them an advantage in making red blends. “The absolute strength of Bordeaux blends is in different varieties and different soils, and that’s where we started,” explains Toby Buck, the second generation of the family to run Te Mata Estate. “But it is also really about the people that put these wines together, who made them what they are.”
'Coleraine is one of the few NZ wines that I have multiple bottles of in the cellar. A wine that is every bit New Zealand’s ‘First Growth’, with a history that dates all the way back to 1896 and a reputation for unwavering consistency.
Named after the original vineyard planted to the same proportions as Chateau Margaux, Coleraine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Before 1989 it was a single vineyard wine, after that a blend of grapes from across the Te Mata Estate vineyards.
For this vertical, the wines were all either purchased at auction (with some bottles topped up if necessary) or from the wine program cellars and checked before the tasting at Te Mata Estate. That attention to detail meant that there were no bad wines in this vertical. Just glory. Please world, make every vertical like this.
Notes are as written on the day and we went through the wines v. quickly so they’re pretty rough impressions. Still, there is no disguising the pleasure of so many of the wines here. Hawke’s Bay goes to Bordeaux indeed.
Personally, I prefer the moderate years, the best wines are so varietal yet they’re ripe and layered too. Sometimes large verticals are a chore and you find yourself stuck in a trough when winemaking fashions change. But this collection was punctuated with pleasurable wines so regularly that it was a joy.'
Less ripeness, more coiled power. Reminds of the composure of the ’14. Bound up in oak but the kicker is the acid feels natural. More elegance and a real perfect smoothness here. Really generous in its round appeal and seamless tannins. Very fine. One of the best.
This month Air New Zealand showed two vertical collections of Te Mata Estate wines at exclusive events in Australia. The first was a twenty-five year vertical of Bullnose Syrah in Melbourne, the second a thirty-five year Coleraine vertical served at Rockpool in Sydney. Promoted as 'one of the most historic tastings of two of New Zealand’s greatest wines' this was a rare, and invite-only, chance to taste collections seldom seen on the international market.
A perrenial part of the Fine Wines of New Zealand, Bullnose and Coleraine have both been selected by a panel of judges since the programme began. A vertical of Coleraine was prevsiouly used to benchmark the inital judging of New Zealand's finest wines.
Comments by Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh from The Wine Front on specific vintages have already been uploaded to the reviews and wine sections of this site. All new review material will be linked to here shortly.
'Take for example Te Mata Estate Coleraine – this highly collectable red is snapped up every year it is released.'
Want to age that bottle, but don’t know how to store it? Or for how long? This month in Kia Ora Magazine, Bob Campbell MW writes about ageing New Zealand reds and tasting an older Coleraine:
'Anyone who has held on to a special wine for a long time faces the dilemma of when to open it. I was asked about this by a friend who had stored a magnum of Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2000 since he bought it 16 years ago. It is a robust blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.
My heart sank slightly when he told me he’d stored it in the garage. “It’s quite cool,” he added. Variable storage temperatures cause wines to leak past the cork allowing air to enter the bottle. You can get an idea of how well an old wine has been stored by standing the bottle upright and looking at the gap between the cork and wine level. If the gap is less than 10mm there’s every chance it will be fine. As the level drops so do your chance of tasting good wine.
Corks vary considerably too and, as a result, so does the wine in each bottle. There was a possibility poor storage or a dodgy cork had allowed by friend’s Coleraine to spoil. I suggested the wine be opened and enjoyed as soon as possible. We set a date for dinner.
There was an air of anticipation among the dinner guests. We could be tasting a great wine, but we might be sipping vinegar. The wine level was perfect, raising hopes. A crumbly cork had our host worried, but the cork chips were easily removed with a tea strainer.
The wine was better than I’d dared to expect. Age had given it a silken texture. It was a peacock’s tail of flavours – delicate berry and floral characters with oriental spices, cigar box, old leather and a hint of nutty oak.
Te Mata Estate was proud to serve our wines at an exclusive dinner for former US President Barack Obama. Te Mata's CEO Nick Buck attended the event, where Bullnose Syrah and Elston Chardonnay were poured. The wines were among a small group chosen for the event, selected to promote New Zealand's finest - run by event co-organisers Air New Zealand.
"It's a great endorsement for New Zealand wine as a whole but Hawke's Bay in particular, and the wonderful wines we grow in this region. When people select the very best of New Zealand wine, so often they end up coming to Hawke's Bay. I think he's come to represent an America that was very outward looking and inclusive, and extremely diplomatic in its world standing. He did tremendous thing for global trade, global peace and prosperity."
The dinner's MC is poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, an award Te Mata Estate established in 1997.
'In a role established by Te Mata Estate winery, New Zealand's latest Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh has accepted her new post with – what else? – a poem.
The prestigious two-year post was announced in a surprise ceremony on Friday night at the tail end of the launch of her new poetry collection, Tightrope. Tusitala Marsh gave a nod to her mother, who came to New Zealand from Samoa speaking no English, as well as the recent controversy regarding Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's pregnancy plans.
"I accept this award on behalf of Pasifika peoples/whose brown faces/aspire to higher places," she said.
Earlier, Tusitala Marsh – an academic and strong advocate for Pasifika poetry and literature – said the role of Laureate was "breath-giving". She wrote her first poem – about nuclear fallout – at the age of 12. It was published in Grapevine magazine. "I remember walking through Avondale and someone came up to me and said, 'I loved your poem'," she said.
Marsh wrote and performed a poem for the Queen at the Commonwealth Day Observance last year. "At 12 I thought, this was an amazing way to share your thoughts with the world." Tusitala Marsh is now an associate professor and lectures at the University of Auckland, specialising in Māori and Pacific Literary Studies and Creative Writing.
She described poetry as "the power of articulation. It's the power to be able to embody language and connect with other people." The Waiheke Island-based poet published her first collection, Fast Talking PI, in 2009. In 2010 she won both the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry, and Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards.
Each laureate receives $80,000 over two years from the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa to create new work and promote poetry throughout the country. Tusitala Marsh says while she would not do anything "remarkably" different, the award would allow her to take poetry to "some pretty impressive spaces".
"I talk about 'unpoeted' spaces, where it doesn't usually have a space or is heard or made," she said.
She was also given a carved tokotoko, or orator's stick, symbolising her authority and status. Tusitala Marsh said the post was a "wonderful opportunity to extend the poetic page and stage to this nation's multi-coloured, multi-hued voices. "To be recognised in this way is breath-taking. To occupy the role is breath-giving – I can't wait to take the Laureate's tokotoko to the people and make poetry."
New Zealand's first poet Laureate was Bill Manhire in 1996 and the outgoing Laureate for 2015-17 is C.K Stead.'
Coleraine ’98 has been named a ‘Wine Legend’ in the August Issue of UK's top wine magazine Decanter, placing it amongst other wines more than ten times its price.
Garnering immediate international praise, Coleraine ’98 was available for $75 at release and today sells for more than $250. Previous Decanter Wine Legends include Domaine de la Romanée-Conti ’78 ($6,500), Château Haut-Brion ’29 ($3,500), Château Lafite-Rothschild ’59 ($3,300) and Ridge Monte Bello ’70 ($1,200).
Describing Coleraine as ‘the most avidly collected of New Zealand red wines’, Decanter’s piece has already prompted feedback to the winery from Coleraine fans worldwide. (See attached.) Te Mata Estate’s Nick Buck commented:
“This is lovely recognition for Coleraine and for Coleraine collectors everywhere. I’m sure they’ll love knowing they’ve got such great wine in their cellar. Of even greater importance to us is the connection that it gives them, back to the unique people and place that produces such an outstanding wine.”
In 2016, Decanter’s Master of Wine Andy Howard described Te Mata Estate as ‘New Zealand’s First Growth’, putting the winery on par with the world’s top French wine producers:
‘Many critics consider Coleraine up there with the best Bordeaux blends in the world. The original intention may have been to mirror the top Cru Classé but, today, Coleraine has evolved its own style.’
Te Mata Coleraine ’13, ’14 and ’15 have all sold out from the winery within weeks of their release. Te Mata’s Coleraine, as well as its Bullnose Syrah, were both listed in the TOP 50 WINES OF THE WORLD by US wine critic James Suckling. Demand for recent vintages has soared.
Coleraine ’16 - marking 120 years of winemaking at Te Mata Estate - is available on 1 March 2018.
'Te Mata Coleraine from Hawke’s Bay is in my opinion New Zealand’s greatest red wine. It is a tribute to the foresight of John Buck and his partners in creating the wine, and to the superlative work of winemaker Peter Cowley and the viticultural team led by Larry Morgan who have provided a wine that is internationally recognised as one of the very best from the country for over three decades. There are other wines that come close; in the Bordeaux-style, Stonyridge ‘Larose’ is a contender, but doesn’t quite have the length of time of production, or the amount of wine made. There are some superb Pinot Noirs, but that is like comparing apples with oranges, and again, the length of track record of the top wines, Ata Rangi and Felton Pinot Noir does not measure up. Objectively one must say Coleraine is a stand-out.
I’ve been a follower of Te Mata ‘Coleraine’ from the beginning, purchasing most vintages, including the pre-cursor Te Mata Cabernet Sauvignon 1981 (but I missed out on the first 1980). I slowed down my buying of ‘Coleraine’ once I joined the wine trade, but have always been interested in the developments and evolution, participating and in fact organising promotional events at the retail outlets I was working at, in conjunction with Te Mata and their distributors. It allowed an intimacy with the wine, the Buck family (John, Wendy, Nick and Toby Buck) and the Te Mata team few have enjoyed. I worked vintage at Te Mata Estate for the 1991 vintage with the indominatable José Hernandez, my boss at the time. And I’ve been lucky to be involved in various vertical tastings of ‘Coleraine’, in particular the 25th Anniversary Tasting held in Napier on 3 May 2008, where 250 guests and 25 staff tasted the wines from the inaugural 1982 to the then current release 2006. Both my partner Sue Davies and I were pleased to help in a small way with the logistics of preparing the wines and pouring them....'
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.
- 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
For each vintage Te Mata Estate makes available a small selection of Coleraine in bespoke bottles. Prices are available on request but stocks are very limited. If you’re thinking of a unique gift for a very special occasion we recommend confirming availability as early as possible.
Shipping is $9 within the North Island and $12 to the South, fully insured. An order will take us two days to wax seal and hand label. Contact email@example.com for details.
The Coleraine 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.
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.'
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