• Vintage 2001

    The single greatest factor in reviewing the 2001 vintage is the reduced volumes that were harvested due to the cool November flowering. Vineyard yields for 2001 were 50% of normal levels. Apart from November, it was a normal growing season in every other respect. As is often the case with low cropping years the quality is very high. The vineyards produced a very clean crop of fully ripe grapes that show good balance and concentration. The white wines exhibit the typical Hawkes Bay citrus and stonefruit characters, have good palate weight and are between the 1996 and 1997 vintages in style. The red wines appear similar to the 1991 vintage with good colour, rich fruit flavours and firm tannin structures.

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  • 2000

    The 2000 vintage in Hawkes Bay was characterised by an extremely dry growing season resulting in smaller than average berry sizes giving wines with intense flavours. Heat summation was back to normal levels, after the hotter than average 1998 and 1999 seasons, and quality looks very promising. Our white wines are showing intense ripe fruit flavours and excellent structure, while our red wines are darkly coloured, and showing supple palates backed by long, firm tannins.

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  • 1999

    It was an early harvest, characterised by reduced volumes and high quality.  A special feature was the “on-vine” time we were able to gain, from a very early bud burst and flowering; running through to harvest.  Total heat summation was close to that of the 1998 season although we experienced several heavy showers in January and February.  Yields were approximately 60% of normal size and the resulting red wines are classically aromatic, ripe with a tight elegant structure similar in style to those of 1990.  The white wines are fruit dominant in the palate and forward in style.

  • 1998

    In Hawkes Bay, 1998 was a drought season following a wet winter.  Vines showed vigorous growth early in the season, and then had a compact flowering in early December.  Crops set were large, again necessitating thinning, and the ability to drip irrigate vineyards was essential in order to retain sufficient leaves to maintain photosynthesis.  Older vineyards did better than younger blocks; cabernet sauvignon was a star performer, illustrating perhaps that while merlot is a soft option in terms of getting through poorer years, in the better years cabernet sauvignon gives a backbone to reds grown on river gravels that is an essential part of their quality and ability to develop in barrel and bottle.  All the fruit was in wonderful condition but vineyards needed very careful management to avoid dehydration ripening and the extractive characters that can result.

  • 1997

    This was a year that started well, but flowering was somewhat drawn out and crop management, particularly bunch thinning over the summer, was a very important quality factor.  February was warm and humid, as was most of March.  We were nervous about our crops, but decided to wait and keep the canopies very open.  We then had a prolonged Indian Summer of dry, warm weather, enabling us to harvest grapes without pressure.  Our practice of hand harvesting our crops meant that bunches/berries of lesser quality could be omitted, so that for us vintage ’97 was one of small crops of high quality, giving wines with lifted aromatics, pronounced ripe berry flavours, and long palates.  The wines are elegant, a word not being used as a euphemism for ‘light’, with great concentration and, in the case of the reds, fine and long tannin structures.  We think they’re very good, but there are not large quantities of them.

  • 1996

    The growing season culminating in vintage 1996 was a mixture.  Initially, the weather was warm and dry, enabling the bud burst through to flowering section to be most satisfactory.  We had 90mm (about double average)  of rain in January and the same in February, with warm weather prevailing.  We had plenty of days at over 30°C, but not as many as normal over 35°C.  Harvest started on the 29th March and concluded on the 2nd May.  The wines of 1996 season are aromatic, soft and very appealing.  They are forward and accessible in style, reminiscent of the wines of 1990 which was a year for which we have always had great regard.

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