Tasting Reviews

Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Chardonnays, a Syrah and Bordeaux Varietal Reds


Founded by Andrew and Cynthia Hendry in 1980, Coopers Creek is one of the best-known and best-loved wineries in north-west Auckland. This is mainly due to the very wide range of wines made that offer something for everyone, making the cellar door a very worthwhile place to visit. However there is a side to Coopers Creek that puts the company at the forefront of wine enthusiast’s minds, and that is the exceptional quality of the flagship ‘Reserve’ wines and the number of innovative varieties that the company has been among the first to trial and develop. Winemaker Simon Nunns has been at Coopers Creek for 22 years, but he is always interested in new varieties and styles. I’m sure that’s what keeps him young-looking. His rewards are the ever-growing number of gold medals for his wines.

At the recent Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration in Wellington, Simon sent me packing with a box of Hawke’s Bay wines he had made, for me to review, as he did last year. My reviews follow. As is usual, the wines are refined and elegant, stylish and supple, rather than blockbusters. They may take a second glass to get to know better, but certainly deliver all the complexity or style expected of them. No wonder the wines are well-received on the show circuit. www.cooperscreek.co.nz

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Limeworks’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017
Bright, even, light golden-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very tight and finely concentrated with aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined in an amalgam of flinty reductive complexities, and sweet, nutty American oak. This has very good depth and penetration. Medium-bodied, the palate has intense and vibrant flavours of white and yellow stonefruits melded with spicy, nutty oak, forming an intense and concentrated core. This has good flavour depth and drive, and the wine carries along a fine-textured line with plenty of power carrying to a concentrated finish of fruit, oak and flint. This is an intensely concentrated Chardonnay with stonefruit and nutty oak, with subtle flinty complexities on a well-driven line. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Fruit from the ‘Limeworks’ vineyard, near Havelock North, fully barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged on lees 10 months in 30% new mainly American oak, undergoing batonnage and full MLF. 18.0+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $24.00

Coopers Creek ‘Swamp Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016
Full, even, light golden-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is softly full, broad and voluminous with gentle, harmonious layers of ripe yellow stonefruits and tropical fruits along with subtle, savoury reductive elements, mealy complexities and nutty oak. This has detail and finesse. Medium-full bodied, the palate has layered flavours of ripe white and yellow stonefruits, and tropical fruit, harmoniously melded with nutty oak and creamy barrel-ferment elements. The flavours form a rounded but concentrated core that unfolds richness and detail. The mouthfeel possesses a fine acid line that provides freshness and linearity. The wine flows smoothly to a gentle, elegant, refined finish. This is a refined and elegantly concentrated, complex detailed and harmoniously balanced Chardonnay. Match with roasted pork and veal over the next 4-5 years. Fruit from a single site on the Havelock North hills, fully barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on less in approx. 30% new French oak barrels, undergoing batonnage and full MLF. 19.0-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $38.00

Coopers Creek Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015
Very dark, deep, black-hearted ruby-red colour with light purple hues on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned but intense and well-packed with aromas of blackberry fruit with dark raspberries entwined with white and black pepper, violet florals and spice elements, This has good varietal expression with a little cool spectrum edge. Medium-bodied, the palate has a rich and well-packed heart of flavours of ripe blackberries and dark raspberries, lifted bt violet florals, unfolding pepper and liquorice. The fruit is rounded and concentrated, and supported by supple, grainy tannin structure lending balanced grip to the mouthfeel. The acidity is soft, and the wine shows good fruit richness when carrying to the soft, lingering finish. This is a well-concentrated Syrah with blackberry and raspberry fruit along with florals and pepper on a supple, grainy palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4+ years. Hawke’s Bay fruit, 93% Gimblett Gravels and 7% ‘Chalk Ridge’, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in almost all seasoned oak. 17.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $19.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Gimblett Gravels’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2016
Very dark, near impenetrable, black-hearted red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in expression with finely concentrated aromas of dark-red plum and dark-red, and black berryfruit, unfolding a subtle amalgam of soft red florals and gentle notes of dark herbs. This has fragrance and purity and grows in intensity with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate is plush and sweet with rich and juicy flavours of ripe, dark-red plums. The flavours are stylishly expressed with subtle berry and floral notes with herb suggestions. The fruit forms a finely concentrated heart with fine-grained tannins in support, and light, lacy acidity lending energy. This is refined and flows with good energy to a fine finish. This is an elegany and refined Merlot with sweet fruit flavours and fine structure. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6+ years. Predominantly Merlot fruit with a small portion of Malbec, all from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in mainly seasoned oak. 18.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $27.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Gimblett Gravels’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec 2015
Very dark, black-hearted ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge with slight purple hues. The nose is finely concentrated with firm and well-packed aromas of ripe, dark-red and black-berried fruits entwined with spicy black plums with nuances of dark herbs and some earthy interest. This possesses a degree of exoticism. Medium-full bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant, robust flavours of dark-red plums and berryfruit, along with spice notes and a little iron-earth. This has sweetness and lusciousness, and the fruit is matched by grainy tannin extraction. Flavours of liquorice and earth unfold and the wine carries with good grip and integrated acidity to a lingering finish. This is a robust Merlot/Malbec with dark plum and berry fruit, along with spices and earth with good tannin structure. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meats over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 57% Merlot and 43% Malbec, all from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in oak, a small portion new French barrels. 18.5-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $24.00

Coopers Creek ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Very dark, black-red colour, near impenetrable, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is refined in expression but well-concentrated with deep and dense aromas of ripe blackcurrant fruit harmoniously entwined with fragrant cassis and dark herb elements, and sweet, lifted, pencilly oak. This is refined in expression. Medium-bodied, the palate has a firm and tight core with very good depth of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with subtle notes of cassis and herbs. The fruit has richness and depth and is underlined by fine-grained tannin lending plenty of structure. The mouthfeel is very fine-textured and balanced with soft acidity which with the structure carries the wine to a long and sustained finish. This is an elegantly firm and tightly concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon with black fruits and cassis with considerable fine-grained structure and intensity. Match with lamb, beef and venison and semi-hard cheeses over the next 6-8+ years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from a single site in the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 60 new oak. 18.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $62.00
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