The Vibrancy of 2013 Gimblett Gravels

The Gimblett Gravels district covers  800ha in the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. It is strictly defined by the soil composition.

You can have a look at a map on this website

The soil, as you can guess from the name's district, is very gravelly. These gravels were laid down by the old Ngaruroro River. The Gimblett Gravels came to light in 1867 when the river changed its course from the Omahu channel to the present one. The Omahu soils are formed by alluvial greywacke featuring loamy-sand topsoil, overlying stony gravels mixed with sand. Horizontal lenses of non-stony sand are located between the stony layers.

The region was first planted with red varieties in 1981, mainly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Today, red grape varieties still dominate 90% of the plantings  (35% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and small percentages of other varietals). The remaining 10% is shared between Chardonnay, Viognier and small percentages of aromatic varieties. 

Two are the wines we tasted last week. As you can expect, both are red wines, and both are from vintage 2013. This vintage is considered one of the best up to date for Gimblett Gravels region (look here for details). One fact to highlight is that the sugar levels of the fruit at maturity (remember both phenolic and technological maturity) were lower than expected. As a result, most wines feature medium levels of alcohol, freshness and extreme vibrancy without lacking perfectly developed aromas and ripe tannins.



2013 Saint Clair Family Estate Malbec Pioneer Block 17 Plateau
It appears deep ruby/purple with good tears. On the nose it's clean offering, with  Med+ intensity, notes of plums, blackberries raspberries. Lots of violets. Black Spices.
On the palate is dry, with lively acidity, med tannins, med alcohol, medium body with good concentration and flavour intensity. Medium+ finish. Thrilling chalkiness enveloped by a glove of fruit.
Very Good quality, Drink Now or hold 5+ years, High Price. Malbec. Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay. New Zealand.




2013 Craggy Range Te Kahu 
It appears deep ruby/purple with good tears. On the nose it's clean offering, with Med+ intensity, notes of damsons and wild hedgerow fruits, oak impact is more pronounced here, with smoky hints and a creamier palate. Floral and green accents as well.
On the palate is dry, with med+ acidity, medium tannins, med alcohol, medium body with good concentration and flavour intensity. Medium+ finish. Sleek and savoury.
Very Good quality, Drink Now or hold 5+ years, High Price. 73% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay. New Zealand.



Conclusions
These wines have very good personality and a vibrant character that is rarely found elsewhere. They speak loud Kiwi, not French. Any comparison to Bordeaux is quite futile and anachronistic. We seek for clear diversity and radiant authenticity, not for pale resemblance ;-)

























  

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