The Church Road range features complex wines that marry the ripe, distinctive fruit characteristics of Hawke's Bay grapes with the subtle nuances obtained from the use of traditional winemaking techniques.
Church Road Chardonnay’s have undergone a quiet evolution in the last few years, tending away from what we would call the ‘old fashioned new world’ style with lashings of opulent tropical fruit and oak, to something far more serious and complex. The 2011 Chardonnay is harvested from selected low-cropping vineyards in various Hawke’s Bay terrior, each bringing their own aroma, flavour and textural attributes. The wine expresses a complex range of fruit, further enhanced by nutty, toasty, mineral and mealy aromas derived from traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques.
We have planted Sauvignon Blanc in the Matapiro sub-region. This is an elevated site 40 minutes drive inland from Napier and 300 metres above sea level. It is situated on river terraces high above the Ngaruroro River and soils are light shallow silts over red metals. Being much further inland than our other vineyards, Matapiro avoids the moderating effects of the sea, and as such has a much higher diurnal shift in temperature with warm days and very cool nights. These cool nights help delay ripening and allow us to achieve a level of aromatics that we do not see from lower altitude vineyards closer to the coast. A smaller portion of the blend still comes from our warmer Redstone Vineyard and is partially barrel fermented in older French oak. This contributes a richer, softer mouth feel to the wine and gives the wine a drinkability that is the key to the Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc style. This year we have included 7% Viognier and 2% Sauvignon Gris in the blend. Both varieties are complementary in flavour and add an extra layer of weight and texture.
Pinot Gris is a subtly aromatic grape that expresses the most flavour when grown in cooler climates. In Hawke’s Bay we have planted this variety in our Matapiro Vineyard. Cool nights help delay ripening and allow us to achieve a level of aromatics in Pinot Gris that we do not see from lower-altitude vineyards closer to the coast. Our winemaking philosophy is simple and hands off for this grape variety, with the aim of preserving fruit aroma and enhancing texture.
A complex array of rich black fruits with subtle spice, sandalwood and violet aromas are complemented by earthy, savoury undertones derived from barrel maturation and a traditional, old-world approach to winemaking. On the palate the wine is rich, yet dry and elegant with a backbone of fine, ripe tannins. This is a serious, multi-dimensional wine in a classic Bordeaux style.
Champion Wine of Show;
Hawke's Bay Mercedes Benz A&P Wine Awards 2010
Church Road has firmly cemented itself as one of Hawke’s Bay’s top producers vis a vis with the first three releases of Syrah, labelled Church Road Reserve, being awarded the top wine in Cuisine magazine’s NZ Syrah tasting for the 2006 vintage, top wine at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards for the 2007 vintage and an Elite Gold at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards for the 2008 vintage. 2009 is the first vintage we have released under the Church Road label and it has recently been awarded the Champion Syrah, Best Sustainable Wine of Show and Champion Wine of Show at the Hawke's Bay Mercedes Benz A&P Wine Awards 2010 - and also a gold medal at the 2010 Air NZ Wine Awards. This wine displays all the fragrance and ripeness of the Reserve wines but with a soft and gentle palate texture, making it more approachable as a young wine.
Pinot Noir is a new addition to the Church Road range and a chance for our winemaking team to explore a new region and one of the world’s great red grape varieties. Great Pinot Noir should have a sensual nature that immediately appeals; a complex array of beguiling perfume, lifting a core of ripe fruit with a presence on the palate that is silky-textured, satisfying, lengthy and complete, neither overly heavy, nor excessively light. Central Otago’s unique climate and soils deliver such wines and offer a contrasting style of red to the firmly-structured Syrah and Cabernet Merlot blends we normally produce in Hawke’s Bay.
Comprised of the free-run juice of ripe Hawke’s Bay Merlot and Syrah, skin contact is kept to an absolute minimum for this wine, to avoid the extraction of any bitterness or astringency. This produces a fragrant, finely-textured Rosé of the palest salmon colour. Merlot brings flesh, suppleness and bright raspberry and violet aromas to the blend, while the Syrah adds complementary red fruits and floral notes with the extra dimension of a touch of spice.