Wines of Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay

These tasting notes accompany our feature on Hawke’s Bay as part of our New Zealand 2020 series

White Wines

(2020) With 55% Marsanne and 45% Viognier, whole bunches go into old puncheons for indigenous ferment. 100% Malolactic.  A touch of creaminess and oatmeal, a nice little floral note, honeysuckle, then the fruit bursts onto the palate with great, cool ripeness, all the pear and apricot but a firmness to the finish, lemon rind and a bit of phenolic grip.
(2020) Gently pressed into puncheons, 40-50% new, and fermented with wild yeasts. Creamy, almond and oatmeal, a bit of flint too. Fabulous burst of fruit: nectarine and peach moving into lime and pink grapefruit, with generous citrus acidity. The oak adds a nutty sheen to a long finish that is focused on fruit and taut acidity. Price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) This is a new release, from a project that’s been 10 years in the making according to Damian. It is a vineyard selection of their oldest vines, and a barrel selection with fewer than 100 cases produced. Lovely savoury nose,  pure and has a touch of gravelly wild character, then creamy almond and Brazil nut. So juicy on the palate, very ripe pear, and the sweetness of the fruit, touching into exotic fruit, but then that core of rapier acidity pushes through, butter eased by the lightly toffeed oak, into a long finish. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.

Red Wines

(2020) Aged in American oak barrriques, but long seasoned, "which gives less of the mocha character," according to Damien. Gamy, wild berries, some deep, deep blackcurrant and a nice floral lift too. So juicy, fresh, grippy and dry, fine but sandy tannins, endive and liquorice oak, the texture juicy but with a bit of grip. Price and stockist are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) A Bordeaux blend with 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, matured in small French oak barrels, 35% new, for 16 months. Seems ripe and plush, lots of blue/black fruit, some mint,  A hint of violet, and chocolate too. A lot of cedar and graphite character. The fruit is sweet and mouth-filling, lots of blackcurrant, but has that cedar and the touch of clove, very juicy and tight, the tannins and fine sour cherry acid in the finish.
(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) Made with 30% whole bunches and a small percentage of Viognier skins in 5,000-litre foudre. Very fine aromatics, perfumed with roses and violets, a little liquorice and thyme and cherry and raspberry lifted and elegant fruit. A touch of smokiness too, then the palate has a light, savoury, gently meaty and chestnutty quality. The palate has sweet fruit that is linear and taut, with good acidity and a sour cherry.
(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 £75 per bottle.

Back to Trinity Hill profile in our feature on Hawke’s Bay

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