399 meters above the Heretaunga Plains, Te Mata Peak is an overwhelmingly beautiful place and one that gives a great view of the Hawkes Bay landscape at just shy of 400m. Where the “Hog's Back” ridge of stubborn limestone descends back under the ground, you find Te Mata Estate winery. Looking back, their cast of wines were among the strongest lineup tasted through New Zealand and with great price points to boot. Their history of producing wine on the estate is one of the oldest in the nation, going back as far as 1896. While the property has changed hands a few times, it seems to be in a good place now. I encourage you to check out their website as well. It pays good tribute to all of the people that make their wines possible, detailed vintage notes, cellaring advice, as well as a very nice article discussing closure options (titled oddly enough; Cork and Closure).
2013 Te Mata Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, Hawkes Bay
Classically NZ with the pop of tennis balls, grapefruit skin, lime, and limestone; all pretty intensely fragrant. On the palate, the wine is has a bright lactic acid component with a finish that builds to be quite fat. $20NZ
2013 Elston Vineyard, Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay
Modern for sure, the nose is filled with fresh biscuits and lemon curd. Mouth feel is rich due to the full malolactic but with a high acid component contributing balance. Tart and creamy, its the wine equivalent of lemon meringue pie. $33NZ
2014 Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir, Hawkes Bay
The most surprising of the lineup because of the scarcity of a single variety Gamay from NZ (I only tasted 3 in 3 months) and the overall enjoyment of the wine. A riper version of the grape than those picturing Beaujolais, the nose does still retain the candied qualities of the present fruit due in part to the 50% carbonic maceration. This sweet raspberry nose also contains a good bit of deep violets and hibiscus. Palate is grippy and bright, lean and tart, ultimately simple, but immensely quaffable, just as one hopes Gamay will be. A good value at $20NZ as well.
2013 Te Mata Estate, Red Blend, Hawkes Bay
Lean and a bit wild, the nose is still opulent. Bottle could have benefited from decanting. Texture is young with a lighter touch of oak on what is their entry Bordeaux blend. Ripe red berry fruit but not overly concentrated. Fantastic price point for those that like a more lean style. $21NZ
2012 Bullnose Vineyard, Syrah, Hawkes Bay
Deep violet in color. Straightforward, bold new world nose with the volume turned up on the oak and unctuous black fruits. Lots of cedar and tannin on the palate but balanced in the alcohol. Recommend lying down for a while to see how evolves. $50NZ