Trinity Hill - Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Like an Oasis in the desert.
The Gimblett Gravels is a region you have to see to really understand it.
800 hectares of arid, dry land that doesn't look like it belongs in New Zealand at all.
However this area is one of the most incredible places for wine in all of the Southern Hemisphere.
Nestled on the edge of this area and right up against the impressive Roy's Hill is a winery called Trinity Hill.
Trinity Hill stands out alright. Lush, green, manicured grass with an avenue of trees. The grounds of this winery bring life to an area which when the vines are bare is all brown, dusty and windswept like the scene of some strange viticultural western film.
The winery is an impressive concrete and glass structure and the cellar door was originally a part of the winery itself before they extended the building to meet their needs.
Trinity hill has a very good reputation wine-wise and the tasting certainly showcased them.
Based on the edge of the Gimblett Gravels, Trinity Hill can make light, elegant wines from outside of the area (often required for most of the white grapes which can't handle the heat) or big bold complex wines from the centre of this unique location.
One example of this is the stark difference between their one-off 'hillside' Syrah 2010, grown on the hillside of Roy's Hill 200 metres behind the winery, and their 'Gimblett' Syrah from the flats in the centre of the Gravels.
Interestingly the 2010 vintage gave this hillside Syrah (grown from a small, steep, hand-picked plot under which lies sandstone and limestone) a huge amount of palate-weight with leather and blackcurrent characters.
The Gimblett Syrah on the other hand is not quite as uniquely heavy on the palate (this will come with age) but had silky-soft tannins and a big, powerful white pepper nose which is so distinctive of these Gimblett Gravels Syrahs.
Also of note are a few rarer varieties such as Arneis and Tempranillo.
My tasting was fun, relaxed and well-explained.
In fact we were so at home chatting about the wines that a customer assumed that I was a fellow employee of my tasting host.
She then remarked "You are so lucky. I work in a bank, at 5pm Friday I am running for the door and don't want to think about banking till Monday morning. You must really love your job to come talk about wine in your spare time!"
I can't say she is wrong!
My time at Trinity Hill was pleasant and though it was short as there is not much else on offer, the tasting was top-notch.