Ngatarawa Winery - Bridge Pa Triangle, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
As picture perfect as can be.
Ngatarawa is a well-known name in the local wine industry.
This company was originally set up by the Corbans family (Famous in NZ for winemaking) and the Glazebrook family (likewise famous for farming) which seems like a recipe for success.
Now wholly owned by the Corbans, Ngatarawa is a common sight in the supermarkets and liquor stores of New Zealand.
The cellar door is housed in a well looked after stable and homestead which is over 114 years old and sits within the renowned Bridge Pa Triangle subregion of the Hawke's Bay.
The inside of the cellar door is covered with interesting antiques, knick-knacks and historical photographs, illustrating the proud heritage of the company and it's site.
My tasting was hosted by an enthusiastic young lady who informed me that she was just learning the business and so had just as much to ask me about wine as I had to enquire about the wines she was tasting. It was nice to see fresh blood in the industry and I was glad to share what knowledge I have.
My tasting included 4 whites, 3 reds and 2 dessert wines, so a nice wide selection for all of their labels.
Starting off with the whites:
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013: a bit too grassy for my liking but with nice tropical notes that would make it highly popular with most people.
Chenin Blanc 2008: Not my favourite Chenin Blanc but has a lot of interesting spice notes and a great length.
Pinot Gris 2011: A soft-aged style which will benefit from 1-2 more years of aging.
Chardonnay 2012: A bit too light, but will age very well. Aged in oak, 15% new, with no malolactic fermentation, it retains it's acidity.
Onto the reds:
Syrah 2013: Far too light. Perhaps released prematurely to meet demands which is a shame. Could develop well if given a reasonable amount of time.
Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009: My favourite of the lot. A light but spicy backbone in the traditional Martiborough style.
Hawke's Bay Merlot 2011: A nice amount of weight and ageing well, and will benefit from even more ageing.
Lastly, I tasted two dessert wines.
Last Harvest 2013: Made with a 50/50 blend of Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Soft and light, with a backbone of acid that balances out the sweetness.
Noble Chardonnay 2009: Ageing well though a bit too thick and syrupy for my tastes. Still delicious though not as palate-cleansing as the Late Harvest.