Puriri Hills Estate is a great red from a small wine producer just outside the village of Clevedon, in the rolling green hills southeast of Auckland. It's an unlikely destination for a top red as there are few other vineyards in the area, which is warm with a maritime climate - the coast can be seen from the vineyard and is about a 10 minute drive away.
The wines are made solely from estate grown grapes from the four acres on site, which include Merlot, Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. This bunch of classic Bordeaux red grapes inspired founder Judy Fowler to make wines modelled on the great reds of Pomerol and St Emilion in Bordeaux.
The first wines were made in 1999 and continue to be produced on site by Judy Fowler and winemaker Evert Nijzink, of Alpha Domus in Hawke's Bay. He continues to consult to Puriri Hills as winemaker and is also strongly involved in blending decisions, which are imperative to reds made from a diverse range of relatively late ripening grapes.
Judy and Phil Nunweeks joined forces in 2005 and he now also works at Puriri Hills. The trio define the outstanding taste of these wines, which are made in small volume and hit high notes of popularity both nationally and internationally.