I recently tried new signle estate wines from TeAwa from New Zealand, which just joined Cognanc One’s National portfolio.
New Zealand is usually associated with Sauvignon Blanc, especially in the minds of American consumers, so it was refreshing to try the different styles and varietals.
Te Awa ws established in 1992 by the Lawson family, acquired in 2002 by the NYC based financier Julian Robertson, and is currently managed by Chief Winemaker Ant MacKenzie.
I liked the 2009 Chardonnay, which is from Hawkes Bay. Different clones are used, and the soil types are mostly free draining gravel. Once pressed, the juice is settled before being run to barrels. Some of the barrels went through spontaneous wild yeast fermentation, and the balance were inoculated with selected yeast strains. Most barrels went through malo-lactic fermentation in spring, with the youngwine staying in contact with its yeast lee for twelve months prior to bottling. All barrels were tight grain French oak, of which 40% were new.
Resulting flavors are elegant and sophisticated, with vanilla and toast from the barrels.
The 2009 Syrah (99% Syrah, 1% Viognier) is selected from old vines, hand picked, de-stemmed, and tipped directly into a five tonne open top vat. After a five day cold soak it was allowed to warm up and ferment sponataneously with native vineyard yeast. The young wine was drawn off the skins and aged for 15 months in 300L French Oak Barrels.
The nose offers black berry fruits, cinnamon, and spice. The palate is medium boddied, the tannins supple, and the flavor quite rich and delicious.
The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is crafted for the ‘table not the bar” with orange peel flavors overlying a pure tropical melon base. In the vineyard, successive parcels of fruit were brought into the winery based on flavor and tannin ripeness, and the juices split into three categories: aromatic components, mineral components, and textural components.
The aromatic components were tank feremented with a special yeast selection that unlocks and highlights fruit characters. The mineral component was fermented warmer and left on lee after fermentation to accent the mineral / flint character. The final components were fermented in barrel andtank with a componation of yeast strains to promote layers of flavor and texture. The components were assembled and bottled following six months of maturation. Fifteen percent of the wine saw the inside of a barrel.”