From the windswept coastal vineyards of Te Awanga to the iron rich earth and alluvial stones of Bridge Pa and Gimblett Gravels, you’ve got to love the regional diversity on display in Hawke’s Bay. But how do you convey this to consumers in a straightforward and comprehensive fashion?
Elephant Hill has hit on a clever solution, and winemaker Hugh Crichton was at Regional wines just the other week, taking us on an elemental journey by the glass to demonstrate.
This iconic winery has vineyard holdings in the aforementioned three main regions, and from now on will be marking the proportions of grapes from these three sites on the back of the bottle. To do this they have hit on the monikers Sea, Stone and Earth, which correspond to grapes from Te Awanga, Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa.
Even if you’re not familiar with these subregions - the new labelling conveys the essence of what is influencing the vines with real transparency (something that has often eluded the wine industry in general one could say).
Giving the customer a heads up of what he or she is investing in is so important when it comes to wine. Think of Riesling and Chardonnay, for example, where levels of sweetness and oak can be so palate polarising, so any advancement in communicating what is actually in the bottle is certainly welcome in my opinion.
And the regional variation isn’t just communicated well by the new labels, but by the wines themselves.
From the Sea and Salome Chardonnays with their bright coastally cooled acidity, to the Stone Merlot and Syrah which offer lifted, intense and aromatic qualities.
And, of course, the two big red icon wines in the form of Airavata and Hieronymus. The first a blend of Syrahs from the Earth and Stone sites and showing with density and structure, the latter a powerful yet succulent Bordeaux blend, almost exclusively from the Stone vineyard.
These are well crafted wines with a story to tell about where and by whom they have been made, and at a price point that still offers real value, especially when compared to many of their European peers.
We have some of the latest releases which show the new elemental labelling, plus back vintages of Icon wines. Why not grab a few for now and for cellaring, and let them take you on a journey through Hawke’s Bay's diverse subregions one day…
See our Elephant Hill wines here including the 2015 Airavata and 2017 Hieronymus...