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High-powered Helmsman headlines Special Selection reds

5 August 2015

High-powered Helmsman headlines Special Selection reds

As the name suggests, Sacred Hill’s Helmsman is head honcho among the Special Selection reds and its latest release leads this tantalising trio of Gimblett Gravels wines to new heights.

This month’s release of the eagerly anticipated 2013 vintage of Sacred Hill Helmsman, Brokenstone and Deerstalkers is the first time since 2010 the three wines have been released together - a line up of unprecedented quality from the vintage of a lifetime.

While those who have already tasted the wines are busting out stratospheric scores, Sacred Hill founder and Managing Director David Mason is quietly content that the wines exemplify Sacred Hill’s Special Selection philosophy.

“From the beginning we all agreed these wines would only be produced in outstanding vintages, where the growing conditions came as close to perfection as nature allowed.”

“What is in the bottle is not only the result of the vintage but also the Gimblett Gravels vineyard site, the maturity of the vines and the accumulated knowledge and work of the vineyard and winery team. These wines illustrate every aspect of what we strive for in our wine making.”

This is clearly illustrated by the Special Selection flagship Helmsman 2013, a Cabernet Sauvignon-powered blend with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Previous vintages of this label in Bordeaux versus Gimblett Gravels blind tastings have put Helmsman among the best of the best. The 2013 vintage is rated by those who have tasted as the best yet, already attracting a 100/100 rating from one critic.

It is joined in the line up by Brokenstone 2013, a rich, powerful and harmonious Merlot dominant blend with small quantities of Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, that has been described as ‘benchmark Pomerol’ in style.

The seductive Deerstalkers Syrah 2013 makes up the trio, which have long been recognised as among Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand’s leading lights.

Sacred Hill Senior Winemaker Tony Bish says the 2013 vintage was quite simply a gift.

“The wines are profound with a purity and depth of flavour and intensity that reflects the quality of the harvest. The Merlot was dense, rich and aromatic, the Cabernet Sauvignon ripe and intense with wonderful structure, the Syrah floral and spicy and the Malbec was the most impressive we’ve ever seen.”

Bish says the wines have been carefully hand crafted – the fruit hand picked, the grapes gently de-stemmed and hand plunged before undergoing the most gentle winemaking process and barrel aging.

“When the fruit from the vineyard is close to perfection, it’s all about minimal handling to preserve harmony and depth and make sure what is in the bottle is the purest expression of the vintage.”

Bish says all three wines will have unprecedented staying power, delivering rich rewards to those with a cellar and some serious self control.

Bish is already stacking the darkest corners of his own cellar with 2013 reds.

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2013
Winemaker’s note – Very dark red appearance. Classical Cabernet notes of ripe blackcurrant, cassis, dark red rose petals, blueberry and warm roasted cinnamon sticks. This has a very ripe and seductive aroma. The palate is immediately rich and powerful with great depth and complexity. The texture is fine, supple and immensely satisfying with exceptional power of fruit clothed in refined silky tannins, culminating in a refreshing finish. This is the best Helmsman produced to date with the potential to cellar for up to two decades.
RRP: $84.99

Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2013
Winemaker’s note - Deep inky colour. The nose is deep and richly layered with aromas of dark plum, black cherry stone and hints of new leather. On the palate there is great density and richness with black berry fruit notes. The palate flows well and is fine and supple, with complexity unfolding into a harmonious finish. The wine promises great riches with patient cellaring for up to 15 years.
RRP: $49.99

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2013
Winemaker’s note - Deeply coloured wine with a richly scented aroma of dark fruits, spice, violets, wild blackberries and dark chocolate. The palate is rich and profound, with ripe dark berries, nuances of spice and silky mouth filling volume. The finish is seamless with melted tannins and lingering dark berry and spice aftertaste. The wine’s complexity will evolve with cellaring of up to 10 years.
RRP: $59.99

Sacred Hill Special Selection wines are available from good wine merchants throughout New Zealand.

For further information visit


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