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GIMBLETT GRAVELS – the best of both worlds?

Media Release – for immediate release

GIMBLETT GRAVELS, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. – 11th April 2013

GIMBLETT GRAVELS – the best of both worlds?

Is it possible to make world class wines from Syrah and Bordeaux varietals grown in the same area?

In France, you would have to drive almost 500km between Bordeaux and the Northern Rhone. Yet in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines from these grape varieties - growing, literally, side by side in an area less than 800 hectares (2000 acres) – continue to receive acclaim from leading international wine critics.

Each year, the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) releases to key wine influencers a limited number of their Annual Vintage Selection, comprising an independent selection of the members’ red wines that best represent the given vintage. The current 2010 vintage, selected by Andrew Caillard MW, comprises nine blended reds (from Bordeaux varieties) and three Syrah’s.

In her recent review, published on the website (subscription), Jancis Robinson MW commented that “…(GIMBLETT GRAVELS) is just as good at its original Bordeaux grapes as at the more recently planted and much scarcer Syrah ….grape”

Her top two ranked wines were a Cabernet Sauvignon blend and Syrah, respectively. A further GIMBLETT GRAVELS Syrah, not part of the Annual Vintage Selection but reviewed simultaneously, achieved an even higher rating.

In another review by leading international wine judge and author, Stephen Brook, a Merlot blend was his top rated wine.

Commenting on the reviews, GGWA Chairman, Tony Bish says” Receiving critical review from such experienced international palates is essential towards helping us achieve our vision to be internationally recognised and acclaimed for consistent production of exceptional quality and highly valued wines.

Whilst we often debate internally whether our Syrah or blended reds are better, the reality is that we are blessed with having the best of both worlds. Thankfully, we are unencumbered by politics or arcane rules that restrict the planting of certain varieties to certain regions and we can let our unique terroir truly express itself. So much so that the Merlot blend that Stephen Brook rated highest includes a proportion of Syrah!

What is also pleasing to see is that there is a recognition that such wines will continue to develop with cellaring, in some cases over 10 years. American wine critic, Alder Yarrow, recently tasted various aged Hawke’s Bay wines back to 1998 and praised them for “….aging beautifully, effortless testaments to the quality of winemaking that has been going on in this region for several decades.”

It means GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines can offer wine lovers the option to drink young or cellar with confidence. Again, the best of both worlds.”

The 2011 Annual Vintage Selection will be announced early August 2013.


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