Abbey Cellars - Bridge Pa Triangle, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
An almost religious wine experience.
It's not often you come across a winery that sticks to it's theme as strongly as Abbey Cellars.
Driving along the road past Bridge Pa, this unique piece of architecture sure stands out.
Designed in the style of a Gothic Abbey, the building's clean, even stones give a modern feel to their interpretation of this historical motif.
Coming in to the winery on a quiet day was a very peaceful experience, heading through the open gates and into the large grounds, with picnic seating looking out across the vines to the hills beyond.
Abbey Cellars is a family affair and it was the son of the founding Haworth family who hosted my tasting.
The line up for my tasting was very concise, 2 whites, 2 reds, and 2 dessert wines.
All of the Abbey's wines are from the single vineyard in the Bridge Pa Triangle, with mostly red metal soils.
The nice, eclectic mix of wines started off with a medium dry Riesling from 2012.
Hand-picked and whole bunch pressed this lower alcohol (11%) Riesling would be the perfect match to seafood such as finely sliced Salmon, or Squid.
This one is all about the clean, mineral finish.
Second up for the whites is their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2013.
Lovely, vanillin and nutty aromas followed by a creamy mouthfeel with long citrus notes making up the finish.
The reds were a quick run through of the Merlot 2009 which had great aromas of dark chocolate and was aging gracefully, followed by the Malbec 2011 which was very light for it's age, but was incredibly elegant and would benefit from several more years of cellaring.
Last up were the two dessert wines.
Both made from Riesling, the first was the Late Harvest 2012 which was 50% affected by botrytis and was fermented in oak barriques to about 10% alcohol. The residual sugar is lower than the final wine at about 100g/L. This wine remains weighty and succulent with ripe apricot and marmalade flavours.
The last wine I tasted was the Noble Riesling 2011. This one was even more affected by botrytis and the residual sugar is much higher at roughly 230g/L. This last one was all about the rich apricot and honey flavours and was perhaps a bit too decadent for such a holy looking place!