Gimblett Gravels 2016 Annual Vintage Selection

Released for tasting late November 2018

Five wines under Screwtop, One under Diam and  six under Natural Cork

Craggy Range SV Syrah 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark ruby and crimson hues. Sweet and ripe dark cherry then raspberry, dry stone mineral core, some suggestions of violets and sweet flowers, varietal, distinctive and enticing bouquet overall. Youthful textures on the palate with an abundance of fine dusty tannins, some chalky moments, plenty of acidity too – all contrasted by the core of red berry fruit flavours, clove and vanilla spiced oak and a lengthy persistent finish. Moderate+ weight, drinkable today – perhaps best from late 2020 through 2028.

95 Points


Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Syrah 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Very dark ruby and purple core with a crimson and pink rim. Complex and alluring bouquet with a tense, poised and fruity core. There’s no mistaking the attention to detail with the bouquet showing off layers of spice, cherry, red apple, raspberry, dusty clove and vanilla. Dry on the palate with there’s a lot of youthful tension with a definitive impact of tannin and acidity, but contrasted by the flavours of red berry fruits, pepper and sweet oak. Opened too soon this wine needs more cellar time to harmonise the various elements and collective attributes. Long detailed finish, a wine that will reward those who can wait. Best drinking from 2022 through 2032.

97 Points


Vidal Legacy Syrah 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Purple and ruby with a purple, crimson and pink rim. Distinctive, complex and youthful bouquet with quite urgent and competing aromas of raspberries and plums, blackcurrants and blue fruits. There’s also plenty of new(ish) oak scents with fresh toasty spices, but also a distinctive varietal peppery frame. Vibrant, textured, youthful and fruity core on the palate. Flavours do reflect the nose, firm tannins and higher acidity need time to settle in and when they do this wine will be incredible. A lengthy and complex and detailed wine with flavours that reflect the nose. Best from 2022 through 2032.

96 Points


 Sacred Hill Deer Stalkers Syrah 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Very dark ruby and purple core with a ruby rim. Aromas of dark berries and pepper spices, vanilla and sweet clove. Additional aromas of blue fruits and a hint of new leather, baking spices and violets. Dry, nice core of fruit, lots of energy and texture on the palate with chalky tannins and plenty of acidity. Flavours reflect the nose. Complex, steely and haunting finish. A wine destined to age well. Best drinking 2022 through 2030.

95 Points


Saint Clair Family Estate Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark purple and ruby core with a pinkish rim. Aromas of toasty smoky oak then dark red berry fruits, some floral highlights then blackberry, sweet dark plum, sweet tobacco and bell-pepper. Dry, mealy, toasty and fruity on the palate. Fine tannins and medium+ acidity. A totally enjoyable wine with both immediate drinkability and cellar time available. Lengthy finish with a core of fruit then oak and toasty wood layers. Best from early 2020 through 2028.

94 Points


Vidal Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Ruby and purple core with pink and purple highlights. Distinct, ripe and masculine core with an herbaceous, dark berries and plum drive. As the wine opens up  sweet oak spices, vanilla and violets begin to emerge. Complex, youthful and powerful on the palate with an abundance of tannins and acidity, contrasting ripe fruit flavours and textures. A very lengthy and fine finish. A wine that will age significantly and reward those who can wait. Best drinking from 2024 through 2034.

97 Points


Babich Irongate Cabernet Merlot franc 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark ruby core with bright purple and ruby rim. Lovely bouquet lifted aromatics highlighting violets and sweet red berry fruits, plums, soft tobacco, hay, a hint of leather and sweet red bell-pepper. Textured firm(ish) and dry on the palate with flavours that match the nose, firm tannins and plenty of acidity, quite complex and lengthy on the finish. A complete wine with some cellar time ahead. Decant for service with best drinking from 2022 through 2030.

94 Points


Babich The Patriarch Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark purple core, pink, purple and ruby rime, very bright. Complex, fruity and alluring bouquet with aromas of plum and blackberry fruits, an abundance of new toasty wood showing of clove and vanilla spices, some bacon and oak sweetness. Noticeably dry on the palate, but with a core of fruit, high acidity and firm youthful tannins it is easy to see how this wine will settle ang age well for some time. Flavours are bold and expressive, earthy, woody, toasty, fruity and textured. Lengthy finish. Best from 2023 through 2033.

96 Points


Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark purple and ruby core with a ruby pink rim. Complex and beguiling bouquet with aromas of sweet blackberry fruits, olive and baked bell-pepper; violets and sweet wood. Calm yet persistent bouquet. Dry, firm and complex on the palate. Very youthful with firm tannins, high acidity and punchy fruit flavours with tobacco, wood and a sweet vegetal note. Very long finish, youthful and cellar time required. Best from 2024 through 2034.

97 Points


Stonecroft Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark purple and ruby core through to the rim where it turns pink. Very youthful and fruity bouquet with aromas of blackberry and marmite, Doris plum jam and an abundance of wood smells – cloves, vanilla and other baking spices. Firm, dry, bold and concentrated on the palate with loads of dark berry flavours, plums and dark cherry. No mistaking the impact of oak, tannins and acidity. A wine that needs a lot more cellar time to integrate and meld. Lovely lengthy and promising finish, complex and delicious. Best from 2024 through 2034.

96 Points


Mission Estate Jewelstone Antoine Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

A very enticing and attractive bouquet with layers of dark red berry fruits, sweet oak and oak spices, tobacco, dark rose and violets. Complex and tasty on the palate with fine mealy tannins and youthful acid line, some warming alcohol highlights ripe berry fruit flavours reflective of the nose. Long and flavourful finish ticking all the boxes of complexity, youthfulness, flavour and promise. Still requires some cellar time. Best from 2023 through 2030.

95 Points


Craggy Range Sophia Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Fran 2016 GG Hawkes Bay

Dark purple then dark ruby core, ruby at the rim. Complex, floral, fruity, toasty and oaky. A bold bouquet with enticing aromas of plums and blackberries, fresh new oak, raw brown sugar, crushed roses and violets. Dry and firm on the palate, but also fruity with flavours that reflect the nose. Chalky fruit tannins, firm toasty oak tannins, medium+ acidity with additional flavours of olive and hay. Long finish. Very young still so hide at the back of the cellar please. Best from 2024 through 2034.

97 Points

Cameron Douglas