‘Some would say that Te Mata’s Coleraine was the first true iconic wine of New Zealand. The first vintage of Coleraine caused a stir when it came in 1982 but it wasn’t without a precedent. Te Mata Estate had already been making well-respected wines for many years before and the estate, whose first vintage was in 1896, is in fact the oldest winemaking property in New Zealand. It is partly due to Te Mata’s long history and experience that Coleraine was celebrated quite early on as one of New Zealand’s finest wines. But also because Coleraine hit the nail on the head in terms of combining grape variety with terroir and proved that Hawke’s Bay, and indeed New Zealand, was capable of making world class red blends.
Te Mata Estate has many different soil profiles and mesoclimates in their vineyards. Varying degrees of alluvial gravels, silts and sand make up the vineyard soils and parcels each have different exposures, slopes (or plains) and mesoclimates. This, in combination with the different grape varieties, is what the family believes gives them an advantage in making red blends. “The absolute strength of Bordeaux blends is in different varieties and different soils, and that’s where we started,” explains Toby Buck, the second generation of the family to run Te Mata Estate. “But it is also really about the people that put these wines together, who made them what they are.”