Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2015
Brilliant gold with an edge of bright green, Elston ’15 is like a Hawke’s Bay peach picked fresh from the tree. Intricate aromas of ripe stonefruit, nectarine, lemon zest and honey soften into Crème brûlée, citrus and roast nuts. Crisp chardonnay fruit balanced against fine, refreshing acidity gives this wine immaculate poise. Te Mata Estate’s leading lady, Elston ’15 is chardonnay royalty.
Elston is named for Elston Hall in Nottinghamshire, the ancestral home of Charles Darwin’s family. Darwin’s ‘theory of natural selection’ forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory, the foundation of biology. The wyvern symbol of Elston Hall appears on the label.
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Te Mata Estate Winery originated as part of Te Mata Station, a large pastoral land holding established by English immigrant John Chambers in 1854. His third son, Bernard, influenced by the comments from visitors that the hills were suitable for grape growing, planted vines in 1892. Wine was made from those grapes in 1896, establishing Te Mata Estate as the first winery in New Zealand to make a century.
An eclectic region on the east coast of the North Island, Hawkes Bay extends from wide, fertile, coastal plains, inland, to the coast range, whose peaks reach as high as 5,300 feet. While the flatter areas were historically more popular because they are easier to cultivate, their alluvial soils can be too fertile for vines. In the late 20th century, the drive for quality led growers to the hills where soils are free-draining, limestone-rich and more suited to producing high quality wines.
Over the passing of time, the old Ngaruroro River laid down deep, gravelly beds, which were subsequently exposed after a huge flood in the 1860’s. In the 1980s growers identified this stretch, which continues for approximately 800 ha, and named it the Gimblett Gravels. The zone has proven to be ideal for the production of excellent red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Today the area takes well-earned recognition for its Bordeaux blends and other reds. Expressive of intense stewed red and black berry with gentle herbaceous characters, Gimblett Gravels wines are suggestive of their cool climate origin, and on par with other top-notch Bordeaux blends around the globe.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.