FROM THE TASTINGS: ELEPHANT HILL

Elephant Hill have become one of Hawkes Bay’s leading wineries since planting the first vines at Te Awanga in 2003. The winery and restaurant is now a ‘must visit’ destination. The company also has vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels and even more recently in the Bridge Pa sub-regions. Under the very capable guidance of wine-maker Steve Skinner the wines sit alongside Hawkes Bay’s very best.


Elephant Hill Syrah Rose 2017 $19.99

A new addition to the Elephant Hill range brought about because their Rose is usually made from Tempranillo and in 2017 the volume of Tempranillo produced was very small so this Syrah Rose was added to make up the shortfall. A pale pink colour, this is light and fresh to taste. Quince and peach skin fruit flavours. Dry and refreshing with some weight from lees stirring.


Elephant Hill Chardonnay 2015 $25.99  

It is no surprise that this is one of our best selling Chardonnays. I hadn’t tried it for a few months and was very pleasantly surprised how much this has filled out – it is such a delicious mouthful.  Hand picked fruit from the Te Awanga vineyard, picked in batches over a two week period, wild yeast fermented. Bottled with very low Sulphur. Quite rich with ripe corn, sizzled butter, melon and yellow stonefruits. The oak is integrate nicely and this will continue to improve and develop over the next couple of years. The wine has nice energy and complexity.


Elephant Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2015 $45.99

More of everything in this Chardonnay – flavour, depth, character, elegance…. This isn’t a barrel selection; rather the selection is done in the vineyard where rows that have been previously deemed to produce better fruit are pruned to give much lower yields. In the winery the oak regime is also different with higher toast oak and higher solids in the barrel. This is quite funky and savoury with some smokey elements. Flavours are of dried fig, straw – more in the savoury spectrum with plenty of palate presence. One to cellar a couple more years and bring out for a nice dinner.


Elephant Hill Le Phant Rouge 2015 $21.99

A blend of 69% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec from all the vineyard sites. Quite dark in colour with savoury, olive tapenade, black fruits and a hint of vanillin oak. Mainly made from the pressings of the grapes used for the reserve wines. This is a pleasure filled wine with plenty of flavour, silky mouthfeel and nicely drying finish.