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Gimblett Gravels Hong Kong Masterclass

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Gimblett Gravels Hong Kong Masterclass

Leading media, trade and collectors from Hong Kong and mainland China packed into Club Lusitano, Hong Kong, late last week for an exclusive opportunity to taste eight 2009 vintage Gimblett Gravels blended red wines alongside eight 2008 vintage classed growth Bordeaux, including all five first growths, Haut-Brion, Latour, Lafite, Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild.

For many of the audience, most of whom are very familiar with Bordeaux wines, this was the first impression of wines from the 800ha Gimblett Gravels appellation of Hawke?s Bay, New Zealand, and they were not disappointed.

Led by Singapore based MW, Lisa Perrotti - Brown, the tasting was conducted blind and, as with past Masterclasses held around the world, the overriding sentiment was that the quality of the Gimblett Gravels wines was far closer to the Bordeaux than the price points suggest.

While it was, perhaps, no surprise to see first growths Mouton Rothschild (price approximately NZ$1500 per bottle) and Haut-Brion (price approximately NZ$1000) ranked overall as the preferred wines on the day, all were stunned to note the third overall ranked wine was Gimblett Gravels - Mission Estate Jewelstone Cabernet Merlot (price approximately NZ$39). Of 27 participants who volunteered their ranking preferences (in interests of impartiality, no one connected with Gimblett Gravels or the event organisation was eligible), twelve selected a Gimblett Gravels wine as their most preferred wine.

Chantal Chi, Independant wine writer of China, and Honorary Chief editor of magazine Wine Press based in Shanghai commented, "Six years ago, when I visited New Zealand, I was amazed by your Pinot Noir. Today I am amazed by the Bordeaux (varietal) blends of Gimblett Gravels....?

Ronny Lau, media representative from Hong Kong, neatly summarised the overall sentiment: ?Given that there is a big price difference between Bordeaux and GG (Gimblett Gravels) wines, but not a big difference in quality, GG is doing a great job?.

Chairman of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) Nick Aleksich was justifiably proud, saying ?The tasting was a compelling means to demonstrate, against a highly respected line-up of benchmark Bordelaise wines, the very high standard achieved by Gimblett Gravels in only 10 years since the GGWA was formed?.

He added that ?quality will continue to soar even higher as we benefit from increased vine age and further fine tune winemaking to best express our unique terroir. For us that is extremely exciting, Gimblett Gravels is a very special place and a rising star to follow closely?.

The featured wines, in alphabetical order, were as follows: Wine Vintage Production cases Pricing per (12 x 750ml) bottle NZ$ (approx) Alluviale, Gimblett Gravels 2009 500 $30 Babich The Patriarch, Gimblett Gravels 2009 260 $60 Craggy Range Sophia, Gimblett Gravels 2009 1,200 $70 Kidnapper Cliffs Ariki, Gimblett Gravels 2009 130 $55 Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 240 $45 Gimblett Gravels Mission Estate Jewelstone Cabernet Merlot, 2009 800 $39 Gimblett Gravels Trinity Hill The Gimblett, Gimblett Gravels 2009 700 $35 Vidal Reserve Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 450 $23 Merlot, Gimblett Gravels

Ch Angelus, St Emilion 2008 7,500 $300 Ch Cos d?Estournel, St Estephe 2008 20,000 $250 Ch l?Eglise-Clinet, Pomerol 2008 1,500 $275 Ch Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan 2008 7,000 $1000 Ch Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac 2008 15,000 $2500 Ch Latour, Pauillac 2008 10,000 $1600 Ch Margaux, Margaux 2008 10,000 $1100 Ch Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac 2008 25,000 $1500

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