About this WINE
Te Mata Estate
Te Mata Estate is New Zealand's oldest winery, dating from the early 1890's. Vines were first planted at Te Mata Estate in 1892 on three parcels of hillside land above the homestead. Today, Te Mata Estate still utilises those original three vineyards to produce its most famous wines; Coleraine, Awatea and Elston. Coleraine derives its name from the Coleraine vineyard, home of John & Wendy Buck who have been co-owners of Te Mata Estate since 1978. All the original vineyards have been replanted.
It is a New Zealand family owned winery - a true estate, specialising in grape growing and winemaking from its ten Hawke's Bay vineyards. Acknowledged as one of only five icon wineries in New Zealand. Te Mata's completely handmade wines are renowned as the country's finest.
Under the direction of John Buck, Te Mata Estate has, over nearly thirty years, produced a stunning array of red and white wines including such famous labels as Coleraine and Awatea Cabernet/Merlots, Bullnose Syrah, Elston Chardonnay and Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc.
The first Coleraine was made from the 1982 vintage and created an instant sensation within New Zealand for its quality. Originally a single vineyard wine, from 1989 Coleraine has been an assemblage of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc wines produced from thirty plots within Te Mata Estate’s nine Hawke’s Bay vineyards. Peter Cowley, now Technical Director, has been in charge of winemaking since 1984.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Te Mata has also developed a unique single vineyard from which it produces its Woodthorpe wines.
Hawkes Bay, encompassing Napier on the east coast of North Island, is New Zealand's second largest region by plantings, with 4,500 hectares (or 20 percent of the country's total) in 2006. It is led by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (34 percent), Chardonnay (23 percent), Sauvignon Blanc (16.5 percent) and Pinot Noir (nine percent).
It boasts a diverse spread of soils, from fertile alluvial to stony dry, resulting in an array of variously-sized wineries from the small to the not-so-small; the region accounts for 12.5 percent of the country's 530 wineries, suggesting a happy balance between the two.
Hawkes Bay continues to fine-tune its Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc Bordeaux blends, offering some fine, fresh, pencil-shaving-nuanced examples, particularly from the Te Mata Estate (ie Coleraine). The more recent success story seems to be that of Syrah, in a cool, black pepper Northern Rhône style.
Chardonnay is often seen as the king of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.