Hawke's Ridge @ Triangle Cellars - Bridge Pa Triangle, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Triangle Cellars is located in the pristine Bridge Pa Triangle area of Hawke's Bay and is home to two boutique wine producers. The first being "BushHawk Vineyard" a micro-producer that while having plantings of other varieties is now focusing on their "First in NZ" Fiano grape (an Italian variety from Campania and Sicily). I will give my thoughts on this wine at the end of the tasting section of this review.
The second producer is the larger but still small-time "Hawkes Ridge" a local producer focusing on interesting varieties, namely Viognier, Tempranillo and Semillion.
An architecturally appealing building, the cellar door tastings at Triangle Cellars are either run by the winemakers or by the founders Bob and Carolyn themselves.
My tasting was hosted by the delightful Bob who lead me through a line-up of 10 wines (the only one not available being the 'Grand Reserve Tempranillo' on the far left of the above photo).
Starting of with a Chardonnay from 2009 which despite it's age was very fruit focused, hitting me with a juicy blast of nectarine.
Next a full varietal Semillion (rare in New Zealand) again from 2009 which still retained a lot of acidity with classic citrus and grapefruit flavours.
The 2011 Pinot Gris was drinking well with aromas of candied pears and passionfruit and a rich palate of tropical fruit.
One of my favourite things Hawke's Bay is doing right now is Viognier and Hawkes Ridge is adding to that quality list of Viogniers with their 2010 example. A wonderfully textured wine, with melon aromas and a soft honey and stonefruit palate.
The last white wine was an interesting white blend called "C'est Beau" which is French for "It's Beautiful".
Quite a lot went into this unique composition so I shall quote the tasting note:
"This wine was made from handpicked, late harvested Semillon, Pinot Gris and Viognier from the Hawkes Ridge Vineyard. The Semillon and Pinot Gris were fermented together to create a seamless and integrated fruit profile. A small portion of Botrytised Viognier was added to increase sweetness and palate weight. It was lightly carbonated to give a gently spritz which leaves the palate fresh on the finish."
I found this wine to be both fun and light and must definitely be an easy sell for the Summer time crowds.
The red tasting selection is much smaller than the whites at Hawkes Ridge, consisting of just two full reds and one Blush/Rosé.
The 2013 Rosé is Pinot Noir based and spent quite a long time on skins, over 40+ hours.
The first proper red was a Merlot from 2012 that young,light and apparently made specifically for the Chinese market.
The second was the Tempranillo 2012 which was very soft but impressed me a lot, though I would have preferred an older more mature version. In fact, I decided based on this to purchase the 'Grand Reserve' Tempranillo from 2010 (a fantastic hot year for those sort of varieties).
Finally, to finish off the tasting I tried two dessert wines, the Late Harvest Viognier and the Noble Reserve Viognier, both from the 2011. The first was harvested a month later than the usual Viognier and the Noble was harvested a further six weeks later at 48 brix.
As one final note I will detail the BushHawk Vineyard Fiano 2013 which I purchased out of curiosity (not available for tasting). I wasn't entirely sold on the variety yet, but for their first vintage released I was quite impressed. A wine with intense aroma of lemon zest, apples and flowers, with a palate that mirrors the fruit on the nose and a great acidic backbone that ties it all together.
Give these folks a few more years to get this variety pinned down and I reckon we could have another star on our hands.