Elephant Hill – the Elements & the Icons release
Since its inception, Elephant Hill has aspired to produce wines of the highest quality. This month, Elephant Hill will release their Icons range 2019 Salome Chardonnay, 2018 Hieronymus Cabernet blend, 2018 Airavata Syrah, plus the Elements range 2019 Sea Chardonnay, 2018 Stone Syrah, 2018 Stone Cabernet Franc and 2018 Stone Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Elements' concepts of Earth, Sea and Stone are reflective of the character of the respective individual sites; capturing the very essence of the site and producing wines of intrigue is the aim. (Sea refers to Te Awanga vineyard, Stone refers to Gimblett Gravels vineyard, and Earth refers to Bridge Pa Triangle vineyard.)
The Icons: Salome Chardonnay, Airavata Syrah and Hieronymus Cabernet blend are the combinations of the best of the distinct subregions to create a complex, harmonious, exceptional representation of Hawke's Bay, made only in the best years.
These new releases are from the highly praised 2018 and 2019 vintages. With much anticipation, I enjoyed tasting and looking back to the season, after the wines have developed slowly over time in barrel and bottle.https://elephanthill.co.nz/
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Elephant Hill Sea Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Brilliant pale-yellow with a slightly green hue, lighter on the rim. The nose is delicately soft, greets with a whiff of sea breeze, entwined with a hint of smoky flint, powdery spices underlines lemon sherbet, zesty aromas. Medium-bodied, elegantly presented, nuances of flint, soft butter, toasted almonds and spices are well-proportioned; support by a chalky, mouthwatering acidity reminiscent of lemon sherbet, green apple drive to linearity. Acidity is captivating, persistent and focused. The mouthfeel is clean and refined with chalky minerals, and subtle butteriness continues to unfold. This elegant Chardonnay is refined and persistent with the delicate complexity of barrel fermentation and coastal influence. Match with crayfish and grilled calamari over the next 5-8 years. 100% Clone 15 Chardonnay from Te Awanga, aged 12 months in barrel, 30% new French oak barriques. 75 cases produced. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Aug 2021 RRP $59.95
Elephant Hill Stone Syrah 2018, Hawke’s BaySyrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Deep purple-ruby with a dark core, lighter on edge. The nose is concentrated, tightly packed with dense aromas of dark plums, ripe blackberries, entwined with violet floral, earth and toasty oak spices. Full-bodied, aromas of dark plums and blackberries are ripe with richness, melded with liquorice, violets and black pepper, along with meaty and toasty barrels elements. The palate is rich and concentrated, underlined earthy mineral and fine-grained, velvety tannin extraction. Integrated acidity carry flavours with drive and energy to a fulsome, lingering finish. This is a wholesome Syrah with ripe fruit flavours, earthy minerals and meaty underlay, integrated, lively acidity and a fine tannin structure. Match this with venison and casserole for the next 10+ years. Syrah fruit was from Gimblett Gravels, co-fermented with 1% viognier from Te Awanga to 13.5% alc, aged 21 months, French oak barrique, 55% new oak. 110 cases produced. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $59
Elephant Hill Stone Cabernet Franc 2018, Hawke’s BayCabernet Franc from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Deep ruby-red with a dark core, lighter purple on the rim. The nose is elegant and softly full, penetrating aromas of violet, blackcurrant leaf, melded with a plum and blackberry core, barrel spices and a hint of meaty note overlay. Full-bodied, herbaceous aromas of blackcurrant leaf, violet and liquorice root entwine with concentrated plum and blackberry fruit core. Mealy notes of leather, smoky cedar unveils and linger to a long, fragranced finish. The palate has power and depth contributed by drying, fine-grained tannin extraction, reflective of the Gimblett Gravels, and integrated acidity suited the wine up with a fine structure. This is an elegant Cabernet Franc with the depth of black fruit and herbaceous elements enriched by smoky cedar and a firm, fine-grained tannin structure. Match with herb-crusted lamb and beef wellington over the next 8+ years. 100% Gimblett Gravels fruit, 90% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, fermented to 13.5% alc, aged in French oak barriques 22 months, 45% new oak. 110 cases produced. 19-/20 pts (95 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $59
Elephant Hill Stone Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Hawke’s BayCabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Full, deep ruby-red with inky depth, very youthful in appearance, lighter on the rim. The nose is refined and full, densely packed with ripe aromas of cassis, blackberries and suggestions of plums, harmoniously layered with blackcurrant leaf, spearmint, along with cedar and fresh barrel spices. Full-bodied, the palate is rich with ripe flavours of cassis, blackberries and plums, which possess a savoury edge, underlying mint and blackcurrant leaf unfolds along with cedar, star anise and nutmeg spices. The fruit carries a savoury mineral edge, enriched by new oak spices and smoky details, growing in breadth and depth, filling the palate with fullness. Fine-grained, bony tannin structure provides vitality to the wine, along with the support of balanced acidity, drives a long, sustained finish. This is a serious Cabernet Sauvignon display varietal characters, fine use of oak and a strong sense of place expression. Match with tomahawk steak and wagyu over the next 15+ years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc, aged 22 months in French oak barriques, 55% new oak. 110 cases produced. 19+/20 (96 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $59
Elephant Hill Salome Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Bright, medium yellow, lighter on the rim. The nose is tightly bound with concentrated aromas and elegantly presented nuances of lemon sherbet, pineapple, interweave spices and toasted hazelnuts, unfolding minerality. Medium-full bodied, thirst-quenching aromas of pineapple, lemon sherbet enriched by toasted hazelnuts, barrel spices, buttered popcorn and mineral. The palate is filled with complexity and weight; mouthwatering acidity enlivens and lengthens the flow to a long, sustained finish. Chalky phenolics unveil minerality and salinity, entwined with nutty oak left a fine-textured, fulsome mouthfeel. This is a taut and complex Chardonnay of strength and elegance, packed with details of lemon, pineapple, minerality and toasty oak elements, on a powerful drive with balanced acidity. Match with grilled king prawns and salmon over the next 6-8 years. Chardonnay fruit from 78% Bridge Pa, 22% Te Awanga, fermented to 13.5% alc, aged 12 months in French barrique, 28% new oak. 110 cases produced. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $75
Elephant Hill Airavata Syrah 2018, Hawke’s BaySyrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Deep, ruby-red with a dark core, lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is taut and fragranced, filled with aromas of red berries, plums and lifted florals, interweave black pepper, stony minerals and suggestion of roast. Full-bodied, the palate is elegantly presented, mouth-filling aromas of ripe berries, plums and cherries have a taut core, entwined with black minerals, a hint of smoked meat and black pepper. The palate is silky, enriched by tight-grained refined tannin extraction forms a fine, concentrated heart. The fruit is energised by lacy acidity, carries red fruit and spices to great linearity and iron-minerals linger on the finish. This is a well-structured, taut Syrah with considerably fine tannin structure, mineral complexity and opulent fruit. Match with venison loins and wild boar over the next 10-15 years. 100% MS clone Syrah, from 83% Gimblett Gravels, 17% Bridge Pa, fermented to 13.5% alc, aged 20 months in French oak barriques, 52% new. 600 cases produced. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $120
Elephant Hill Hieronymus 2018, Hawke’s BayBlended Red from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 03-Sep-2021Full, ruby-red with an inky black core, lighter on the rim with a purple hue. The nose is voluminous and bright, with succulent aromas of cassis, red plums, blackberries, enriched by spicy cedar, tobacco, underlying black minerals, vine leaf, menthol and liquorice. Full-bodied, the palate is lush and salivating, showing densely knitted aromas of cassis, red plums, black and red berries entwined with fragrant spices of vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, along with cedar and savoury minerals; subtle underlay of vine leaf, liquorice and menthol added interested, harmoniously layered. The fruit is framed by a firm yet delicate, velvety, fine-grained tannin structure, and the integrated, salivating acidity carries the flavours with great power and energy through the palate to a long, sustained closing. This is a harmonious, opulent Cabernet blend with excellent flavour complexity and structure, succulent fruit and vitality. Match with roasted lamb shoulder and beef with truffle sauce over the next 15-20 years. 100% Gimblett Gravels fruit, 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec. Fermented to 13.5% alc, aged in French oak barriques 22 months, 70% new oak. 350 cases produced. 19.5-/20 pts (97 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $120