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Featured Reviews

Elephant Hill 2017 ‘Le Phant Blanc’ and 2016 Syrah

17 August,2018

With vineyard sources in Te Awanga, the Bridge Pa Triangle and the Gimblett Gravels, Elephant Hill has the fruit to make balanced blends and wines from varieties matched to the sub-region and soils. It also gives Elephant Hill the ability to make distinctive single vineyard or sub-regionally individual wines which highlight terroir in the appropriate vintages. There has been plenty of excitement at Elephant Hill recently, with the creation of the new ‘Sea’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Stones’ tier, as well as the release of the latest icon wines. But Elephant Hill continues to consolidate its position as a top level Hawke’s Bay producer with its excellent blended ‘Estate’ wines. Here, I review the new 2017 ‘Le Phant Blanc’ a blended white made from fruit solely from the Te Awanga vineyard, and the 2016 Syrah, from fruit from the three different vineyard sites.


Elephant Hill ‘Le Phant Blanc’ Hawke’s Bay 2017

Blended White from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright pale straw colour, very light on the rim. The nose is fresh and firm with a taut core of white and yellow stonefruits along with subtle notes of exotic florals and apricots, layered with complexing mineral and nutty detail and a suggestion of salinity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a fine heart of white stonefruits and florals harmoniously integrated with delicate, complexing mineral and nutty lees elements. The mouthfeel is crisp with refined acidity and the wine flows along a refined, textured line leading to a zesty, moderately sustained finish. This is a fine and firmly concentrated blended white with stonefruit and floral flavours along with a layer of minerals on a fresh palate with a delicate line. Serve as an aperitif, and with seafood and poultry dishes over the next 3+ years. A blend of 58% Pinot Gris, 38% Viognier and 4% Gewurztraminer from the Te Awanga vineyard, fermented in stainless-steel with 5% in barrel to 13.0% alc. and 2.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 8 months on lees. 17.5+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $26.00

Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly rich and voluminous with aromas of ripe blackberry and dark raspberry fruit entwined with notes of violet and dark-red florals along with spice detail, unfolding black and white pepper and a little iron-earth. The floral components bloom in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a finely balanced and harmonious palate with interwoven flavours of blackberries, dark raspberries, Asian spices, with floral and pepper detail, and iron-earth elements. The fruit possesses sweetness, succulence and richness, and is balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction, with soft acidity. The palate flows positively to a soft, lingering finish. This is a harmoniously integrated Syrah with blackberry, raspberry, spice, pepper and earth flavours on a fine-structured, soft and refined palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6+ years. Syrah fruit, 64% from the Gimblett Gravels, 26% from Te Awanga and 10% from Bridge Pa, fermented with 5% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 22 months in 25% new French oak, then given a further 6 months on lees. 18.5/20 Aug 2018 RRP $36.00

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