At the Hot Red Hawke’s Bay wine expo last week, the room was abuzz with the results of a masterclass tasting conducted in Hong Kong, just announced.
The quality of Gimblett Gravels wines was reaffirmed in the masterclass held in Hong Kong for media, trade and collectors from Hong Kong and mainland China, led by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW. Eight 2008 vintage classed growth clarets including all five First Growths were served alongside eight 2009 Gimblett Gravels blended reds as selected in May 2011 by Perrotti-Brown; the wines were served blind. Chateaux Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion were ranked the top two, with Mission ‘Jewelstone’ Cabernet/Merlot coming in third place.
While the rankings were weighted generally in favour towards the Bordeaux wines, the attendees were impressed with the quality of the Gimblett Gravels wines being able to compare well with the top wines from Bordeaux, and taking into account the price differential, the Gimblett Gravels wines offered real value. The prices of the Bordeaux wines served ranged from $250.00 to $2500.00, whereas the Gimblett Gravels were valued at $23.00 to $70.00 (in N.Z. Dollars). Interestingly, of the 27 participants who volunteered their rankings (no Gimblett Gravels representatives scores were counted), twelve selected a Gimblett Gravels wine as their most preferred wine.
The attendees of the masterclass were presented with some facts about the Gimblett Gravels. The district was planted in the 1980s and 30 vineyards develop its 800 ha of vines. As a comparison, the average production of the Gimblett Gravels wines tasted ranges from 130 to 1,200 dozen, whereas the annual output of the Bordeaux properties is from 1,500 to 25,000 cases.
The Gimblett Gravels wines from the 2009 vintage featured were (in alphabetical order): Alluviale, Babich ‘The Patriarch’, Craggy Range ‘Sophia’, Kidnapper Cliffs ‘Ariki’, Mills Reef ‘Elspeth’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Mission ‘Jewelstone’ Cabernet/Merlot. Trinity Hill ‘The Gimblett’ and Vidal ‘Reserve Series’ Cabernet/Merlot. The Bordeaux wines from the 2008 vintage were: Chateaux Angelus – St Emilion. Cos d’Estournel – St Estephe, l’Eglise-Clinet – Pomerol, Haut-Brion –Pessac-Leognan, Lafite-Rothschild – Pauillac, Latour – Pauillac, Margaux – Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild – Pauillac.