Te Mata Estate 2020 Showcase at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club

Posted by John Shearlock on

It’s been a while since Regional Wines has hosted a tasting and so it was fantastic to kick off the year (albeit a bit belatedly) with such a zinger. Hopefully this will be the first of many more.

Te Mata Estate really is one of those wineries. With a reputation that precedes it and arguably New Zealand's best known and most iconic wine in the shape of Coleraine, it is hard to taste these wines without preconception of quality and elevated expectation. This can be a dangerous starting point for any tasting, but the wines certainly did not disappoint.

This was all about the 2020 vintage which is looking to be a stunner. Nick Buck, Te Mata’s CEO who presented the tasting, called it one of the best in living memory, even after a string of great vintages in the Bay going back to 2018. Interestingly too, this vintage seems to have shone benevolently on all varieties, with just the exception of poor old Viognier.

The wines really were alive, with personality and panache, yet managed to show restraint and typicity, something that often gets lost in the better vintages, where the story often becomes one of magnitude of flavour and fruit ripeness.

The Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc and Elston Chardonnay were pure and driven with superb acidity and gorgeous bright fruit. I’ve long been a sucker for barrel fermented Sauvignon and this Cape Crest is one of the best I’ve tried. It’s a real keeper too and it will be interesting to see how both it and the ‘20 Coleraine (two unlikely cellar buddies perhaps), will fare over the next two decades.

The four reds were unified by lovely chalky tannins, good concentration and that bizarre contradiction that the best of New Zealand often presents; they were all approachable now but have very decent aging prospects too.

The Alma Pinot Noir and Bullnose Syrah took the wine themes of northern Burgundy and the Rhone Valley and added the Hawke's Bay fruit that many a French winemaker would die for. The Alma is a gutsy Pinot, in my opinion, but not a fruit bomb like many from the South Island, and it will be interesting to watch this wine continue to evolve.

Then there were the Bordeaux blends. Awatea showed massive concentration and many layers of dark fruit but Coleraine took things to the next level. A real mouthful of flavours and textures, this is a monumental wine that will age for a long, long time.

The 2020 vintage is definitely one for the avid collector - a few of whom I met at the tasting. With superb quality at a variety of price points, it could also be just the ticket for those who are thinking of starting a cellar.

Drinking now, or stashing away, get them while you can as this vintage won’t be hanging around on the shelves.

Our Te Mata range is on special for the rest of the month here.

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