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Spade Oak Sangria – Creating a Niche

By February 19, 2013No Comments

Ever the winemaker, loving to experiment and innovate, Steve Voysey of Spade Oak, in Gisborne has created a wine-based drink that has created, if not filled a niche in the market place. Steve and his wife Eileen launched their own label wines with a funky, flavoursome and eye-opening pair of wines from the 2007 vintage, a Chardonnay and a Viognier, that showed their intent to do things differently. Their ‘Spade Oak’ vineyard is close-planted to a host of emerging varieties, such as Gruner Veltliner, Petit Manseng, Albarino, St Laurent and Tempranillo. Wines from these plants have begun to emerge, creating a bit of a buzz among wine aficionados.

Yet Eileen and Steve are connected to the ground, and are aware of enjoying wine and good alcoholic beverages without pretension, and have released their version of a sangria, the wine and fruit-based punch so popular in Spain and surrounds. Living in Gisborne, the Mediterranean lifestyle is prevalent, and sangria, with its quenching fruitiness and low alcohol is an ideal drink for warm and sunny outdoor entertaining and dining. Trialling their sangria, the Voyseys had a remarkable response to it at the Gisborne wine and food festival, and have found surprising interest in it from bars and restaurants, who agree with its food-friendly and easy matching nature, working with tapas (naturally) and even the likes of Mexican food. (They speak Spanish in Mexico, don’t they?). Jugs of sangria are beginning to sit next to rosé wine and fruit juices at a number of local eating establishments. www.spadeoak.co.nz

A colourful and fun label for Spade Oak Sangria
Spanish-Style Sangria based on Tempranillo
On a more technical side, Steve and Eileen’s Spade Oak Sangria is based on the Spanish Tempranillo variety planted in their home vineyard, for that authentic Mediterranean taste. A little Syrah is also included, and the rest is made up of local Gisborne cider, organic orange, lemon and grape juices. It’s a little drier than many other sangrias and sits at only 8.5% alc. This first commercial release of the sangria is based on 2011 vintage Tempranillo, but it’s a year-in, year-out consistency that will be the aim, and that won’t be a problem with Steve’s extensive experience in blending in making method sparkling wines over the last 15 years or so.

What does it taste like? Well, I don’t think it’s appropriate to rate and score it for Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, but my impression is one of a spritzig rosé crossed with a deliciously dry fruit cooler. Though looking more like raspberry cordial, it has a true vinous aroma of refreshingly cool red fruits. The power of suggestion from the colour made me think of raspberries and red currants pouring from the bouquet. Surprisingly dry, thus countering the expectation of something confected, the subtle red fruit flavours seamlessly flow, mixed with a hint of citrus and apple. It’s the acidity that is the feature – juicy and mouthwatering with a hint of sourness to provide quenchability. There’s a little tingle on the tongue, and the alcohol is hardly detectable. It’s all a bit easy to enjoy and one forgets there’s a modest amount of alcohol that might catch up with you!

I enjoyed it with Chinese cuisine, my equivalent of Mediterranean fare: stir-fried prawns and vegetables and freshly roasted duck, and the Spade Oak Sangria was balanced and refreshing with both. Even with a pork egg foo yung dish, the Sangria with its crispness and zippiness found the egg no issue. So I can easily imagine tapas and small plates being well-accompanied by it. If I could hear it speak, the sangria would beg for sunshine and the outdoors. Serve chilled, with some ice and a slice of orange or lemon if you like. It’s a no-fuss beverage that anyone can partake and find drinkable and enjoyable in any easy-going situation.

The Spade Oak Sangria comes in 750 ml bottles and has a RRP$16.95

Disclaimer: This wine-based beverage is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates.

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