Brookfields - Meeanee, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
A snapshot of classic Hawke's Bay Wine.
Brookfields. A place of Hawke's bay history.
One of the last remaining smaller sized producers from the first half of the 20th century.
The homeland of Brookfields, an area right outside of Napier called Meeanee used to be full of vines and small producers, but now just one remains; the stalwart called Brookfields established in 1937.
Driving out through the empty roads out to the winery, I felt amazed that this agricultural area had survived for so long just minutes from Napier city centre.
It certainly is beautiful once you pull into the vineyard. The driveway takes you through a large Chardonnay vineyard and around the back of the small buildings to a leafy car park.
Looking through the gates you see two lovely little buildings, one set for dining and the other.. well I was just blown away when I looked inside.
This Cellar Door was definitely not what I expected. This lovingly crafted and well maintained brick interior sets the perfect tone for one of the Hawke's Bay classic wineries.
It was however, empty! I wondered where my host could be and I heard soft murmuring from the next room, and as I had the thought to have a peek, a head poked out and invited me in!
I was invited to join in on the small tasting that was already going on with one of the local wine tour guides and his two guests.
Now I knew Brookfields wines had a great reputation but I must admit I hadn't tried any before.
The tasting run down my wonderful host Sharon gave me was one of the finest I have had.
Starting with a couple of wines from their famous Ohiti Estate Vineyard, Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc, Viognier before heading to the home vineyard for a fantastic Chardonnay.
Next onto the reds.
We had been chatting the whole time about how great the 2013 red wines were going to be once released, and when we reached the red wine portion of the tasting, the first wine Sharon brought out was the just released 2013 Hillside Syrah! And boy, did it not only live up to my expectations but instead completely blew them away!
Fantastic structure and body, incredible depth and smooth, powerful tannins that made this everything I wanted in a Hawke's Bay 2013 Syrah and more.
After that great surprise came a few more reds that seemed tame in comparison : a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon that was rather light (was probably a tough year for ripening and was very young anyway) and a well balanced Merlot.
There was one last trick that my sly host had up her sleeve though.
She said that as I, from the industry, and two tourists from Australia were here, we should take this opportunity to taste something special.
She decided that she would fetch a wine thief and we would taste the still ageing 2013 'Gold Label' Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot.
This wine is only made in the finest years and is always sold out very quickly.
If I thought I couldn't be further blown away after the earlier Syrah then I was dead wrong.
This blend of at least 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot both from one of the finest vintages in history completely changed my mind about how I think of Cabernet Sauvignon in New Zealand.
It was the first Cabernet dominant Bordeaux blend that I have ever enjoyed this much.
An absolutely huge wine, I could still feel it in my mouth even as I got home 30+ minutes later. The length is effortless and the body and depth have to be felt to be believed. If you ever see this gem when it is released, buy it without a second thought.