Tom Cannavan reviewed Elephant Hill Wines
2015 Reserve Chardonnay
Salinity, flint and creamy minerality to spare in this lovely Chardonnay, smokiness and a little mint humbug buttery quality. The palate is beautiful, ripe pear and apple, a big thrust of lime and tangerine acidity into a long, balanced finish.
Majority of the Chardonnay grapes came from the Te Awanga vineyard, with 17% from Bridge Pa Triangle. Matured in French oak, 34% new. A little more toastiness and buttery/oatmeally quality than the Reserve, a little Jack Daniel note, there is a fat lemony fruit and acid quality, and the phenolic grip and acid gives it fine presence and length, finishing with spice and nuttiness.
2018 Sea Sauvignon Blanc
90 pointsInspired by the coastal vineyards of Te Awanga, 50% was fermented in 500-litre oak puncheons and 50% in stainless steel. Peaches and stone fruits, passion fruit and star fruit, talcumy notes and then a big blast of orange and pink grapefruit on the palate with mouth-filling, ripe acidity.
2016 Stone Syrah
Stone, represents the Gimblett Gravels, the source of the fruit for this Syrah, which has a lovely bold and plush appeal, ripe blackcurrant fruit with great juiciness, a hint of floral and peppery lift. Fruit is rich, tannins are silky, and the acidity balanced.
From a great vintage, this is 99% Syrah with 1% Viognier, the fruit coming from Gimblett Gravels and the coastal Te Awanga vineyards. Creamy ripe black fruit on the nose, though plenty of pepper and spice, a crack of black pepper. The silkiness of the tannins and plush fruit gives a smooth, dense mouthfeel and great presence.
In 2017 this is all Gimblett Gravels fruit, though still with 1% Viognier in the blend. This was bottled, but pre-release tasting of this vintage. Lifted violet and florals, more than the 2013 in this very young wine, such an intense kirsch-like fruit. On the palate it still has that cherry and red plum succulence, but there is cocoa and smokiness and good balancing acid.