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Featured Reviews

Elephant Hill 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Chardonnay

08 March,2018

The freshness, elegance and intensity of the Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay white wines is due in no small part to their Te Awanga coastal vineyard origins. The vineyard is only metres from the sea line, and afternoon sea breezes result in slower ripening and preservation of acidity, these being values traits in the white varieties. Elephant Hill also has Syrah planted at Te Awanga, but the Bordeaux red varieties are obtained from the company’s warmer inland sites in the Bridge Pa Triangle and in the Gimblett Gravels. Here, I review the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, the fruit for both predominantly if not wholly from the Te Awanga site.


Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is taut and elegantly concentrated with a core of gooseberries, greengages, green capsicums, fresh herbs, along with a white floral lift, unfolding a some cool-spectrum nettle notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has intense and deep, vibrant and lively flavours of gooseberries, nettles, cut grass, with fresh herbs and white florals. The fruit has sweetness and is enlivened by brisk acidity. The palate possesses a light, dry-textured phenolic line that carries the flavours with good energy, Nuances of lantana emerge as the wine leads to a taut, lingering finish. This is a tight, elegantly concentrated, lively Sauvignon Blanc with cool-spectrum nettle and cut-grass flavours along with gooseberry and herb notes on a fine-textured palate. Match with herb-marinated seafood and poultry dishes over the next 2 years. Fruit from the Te Awanga vineyard, WBP and indigenous yeast cool-fermented to 12.5% alc. and 2.8 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months on fine lees. 17.5/20 Mar 2018 RRP $22.00

Elephant Hill ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Full, even, bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-gold hues, a little paler on the rim. The nose is gently full with a firm and concentrated core of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits entwined with creamy-nutty barrel-ferment and toasty oak notes, unfolding a fresh saline-minerally element. This has elegance and good intensity. Medium-bodied, the palate is finely concentrated with deep flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with nutty and toasty oak and subtle creamy barrel-ferment elements. The palate features a firm-textured core and line with brisk acidity enlivening the fruit flavours. The wine has excellent drive and carries to a long, lingering finish of citrus, spices and nutty oak. This is a firm and fine-textured, well-concentrated Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrusssy fruit, interwoven with complex toasty oak on a refreshing palate. Match with grilled and roasted seafood, poultry and pork over the next 5+ years. Clones 15 and 95 fruit with a little 548, 80% from Te Awanga and 20% from the Bridge Pa Triangle, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 26% new French oak with minimal MLF. 600 cases made. 19.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $54.00

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