Gamay 31, Easthope Family Winegrowers 2015 Hawke’s Bay

easthope gamay

There’s not a lot of Gamay in New Zealand, but it seems to have some promise here. The most well known example is the soild Te Mata Gamay, but there are two excellent examples from Central Otago, too (Mount Edward and Rippon). This is the latest one I’ve come across, made by Rod Easthope (formerly of Craggy Range) from Hawkes’ Bay fruit. It’s made under his own label ( https://www.easthope.co.nz  ) with his winemaker wife Emma. The grapes come from and old  block planted in Hawke’s Bay over 15 years ago that had been forgotten about, and was just being blended into a larger planting of Malbec. So Rod managed to get his hands on these rows of Gamay, and the result is this wine.

I was given it to try by Ian Quinn, a neighbour of Rod’s, who is a grower with 10 hectares that will soon come into production. This vineyard, named Two Terraces, consists of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gamay Noir and a bit of Syrah. Ian is currently debating whether or not to plant more Gamay. I urged him to go for it!

Easthope Family Winegrowers Gamay Noir 2015 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. From a single site in the Maraekakaho, this is whole bunch fermented and then aged in old oak for nine months. Intense and quite powerful with a subtle green herby, slightly earthy edge to the textured raspberry and black cherry fruit. It’s such an interesting wine, with lovely concentration and fine-grained tannins, and a distinctive earthy quality from the whole bunch fermentation. The fruit has a lovely weight to it. Fresh and lively with good acidity and some grippy structure. 93/100

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