Michael Cooper reviewed Elephant Hill's latest Icon release
An emerging star. The very classy, stylish 2015 vintage (5*) was estate-grown and hand-harvested in the Gimblett Gravels (71 per cent) and at Te Awanga (29 per cent), co-fermented with a splash of Viognier (1.7 per cent of the blend), and matured for 26 months in French oak casks (40 per cent new). It has deep, bright, youthful colour, with a beautifully fragrant, fresh, spicy bouquet. A full-bodied, graceful, supple red, it has concentrated, plummy, slightly peppery and nutty flavours, savoury notes adding complexity, and a very harmonious, finely textured, persistent finish. Already delicious, but still unfolding, it should break into full stride from 2022 onwards.
The powerful, sturdy, rich 2015 vintage (5*) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (41 per cent), Merlot (22 per cent), Cabernet Franc (17 per cent), Malbec (12 per cent) and Tempranillo (8 per cent), estate-grown in the Gimblett Gravels (58 per cent) and the Bridge Pa Triangle (42 per cent). Matured for 26 months in French oak casks (50 per cent new), it is a boldly coloured, fruit-packed red, with a fragrant, spicy bouquet. Still youthful, it is full-bodied, with dense, well-ripened blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, hints of pepper and licorice, good tannin backbone, and a long, very harmonious finish. Best drinking 2022+.
The very youthful, tightly structured 2017 vintage (5*) was estate-grown at Te Awanga (principally) and in the Bridge Pa Triangle, and fermented and matured for a year in French oak casks (33 per cent new). Bright, light lemon/green, it has an inviting, complex, fragrant bouquet. Intensely flavoured, it is vibrant, peachy and citrusy, with well-integrated, biscuity oak, good acid spine and a persistent, harmonious finish. Full-bodied, crisp and highly concentrated, with obvious potential, it's well worth cellaring to 2022+.