(2023) This top-end Syrah comes from the gravel soils of the Gimblett Gravels viticultural area. It is made with 65% whole bunches, in a mix of open-top French oak cuves and stainless steel, fermented with indigenous yeast and aged 17 months in French oak barriques, 38% new. There's immediately huge concentration evident, a deep-set black fruit, ebony and chestnut depth, sizzling bacon fat and yet a hint of sweet spices and floral lift. On the palate the oak is a touch resinous at the moment, but there's so much packed into this smooth, dense wine, the creamy acidity and fine tannin structure also promising longevity. Arguably better in a few years I suspect and will cellar for 10 years easily.
(2023) Dominating this Bordeaux blend is 60% Merlot, with 26% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvginon, all from Gimblett Gravels. It is fermented in oak tanks and then spends 18 months in French barrels, 40% of which are new. Saturated dark purple, the nose is refined, elegant and powerful all at the same time with graphite and a swirl of cedar, a hint of softening vanilla and intense black fruit, It has a very tightly-wound character. On the palate there is great concentration here, liquorice and plum as well as more vibrant cassis, the silky, fine tannins and juicy bittersweet acidity giving lovely balance and, once again, potential longevity to cellar for a decade plus.
(2020) Ramps up the sweet black fruit intensity. A tiny glimpse of violet and game here, of complexity with a meaty and ripe, umami, pastrami character on the palate, a beautifully sour cherry acidity too and fine tannins.
(2020) Made from a small block of clone 337 Cabernet on the Gimblet Gravels, foot-trodden whole berries then aged in new French oak barriques for 17 months. A little balsamic, resinous note that comes from the oak and the semi-carbonic nature of the fruit perhaps. Huge depth of aroma, so plummy and deep, black fruit that is lightly earthy and does show a violet and thyme herby edge. The sweetness and the ripe, plush fruit is charming, the acid and the creamy oak support beautifully. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2020) Another limited edition wine, with no UK retail availability at time of review, this is made from clones that stem from the original James Busby collection, plus clone 174, gifted by Paul Jaboulet. 50% whole bunch adds a lot of perfume because of the carbonic effect, but makes the tannins a little bit grippy/gravelly. Around 50% in new barriques, 50% in the big 5,000 litre ovals. This has musk and roses, so much charcuterie and tapenade, and the red plum fruit. Full Of fruit, powdery tannins, the succulence of the acid, against the sweet ripeness of the fruit, finishing on berries and meatiness again.
(2020) Half the production of the normal vintage. Named after the trinity of original owners, created to pay respect to Hermitage La Chapelle and Gerard Jaboulet who died at the age of 55. 100% new french oak barriques for 14 months. Lovely berry-ripe fruit, has the perfume again, with those refined red fruits, florals and yet the bacon fat smokiness and ripeness. The palate has a seductive plushness, but that gravelly edge of freshness and the tension of tannins and lip-smacking sour cherry and minerals. Dry but not at all austere - but will have great longevity. Price quoted is lowest at time of review for a single bottle, but other retailers sell by the six-bottle case at around Â£75 per bottle.
(2020) From a great vintage, this is 99% Syrah with 1% Viognier, fruit coming from Gimblet Gravels and the coastal Te Awanga vineyards. Creamy ripe black fruit on the nose, though plenty of pepper and spice, a crack of black pepper. The silkiness of the tannins and plush fruit gives a smooth, dense mouthfeel and great presence. Price quoted is for the 2015 vintage at time of review.
(2020) In 2017 this is all Gimblet Gravels fruit, though still with 1% Viognier in the blend. This was a bottled, but pre-release tasting of this vintage. Lifted violet and florals, more than the 2013 in this very young wine, such an intense kirsch-like fruit. On the palate it still has that cherry and red plum succulence, but there is cocoa and smokiness and good balancing acid. Price quoted is for the 2015 vintage at time of review.
(2020) Seven years since I last tasted this (blind) and rated it 89/100 and found it a bit green. Te Mata still consider it too young, softening colour around the rim, a lot more meaty than the younger wines, tapenade, a touch of menthol, but the meatiness is so muscular and compact at this stage. Sweet, very intense, muscular with a touch of polished wood or leather, but you see that Coleraine freshness in there too. Juicy, fresh acids edge the fruit and structure that may indeed give it time yet. Price and stockist for the most recent vintage at time of review.
(2020) No Cabernet Franc in this vintage, 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 60% new oak. Beautiful crimson colour and absolutely gorgeous aromatic intensity, some kirsch and firm black berries, a little exotic Sandalwood spice and light, incense-like smokiness. A touch of green olive and currant leaf, but what a lovely nose. Such pure, sweet fruit, the tight grained structure of the tannins and the line of acidity makes it lithe and supple. Juiciness to spare, a touch of kirsch and floral in the finish. Like the 2018, obviously considerable cellaring potential.