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Church Road Releases Its Sought-after Cuve Wines More Widely

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

13 October 2008 - Wines from the exclusive Church Road Cuve series, which up to now were only available through the Church Road cellar door, will be available in fine wine outlets for the first time from October 2008.

"With the benefit of favourable conditions over specific vintages, we were able to give wine lovers easier access to some of these limited release wines," says Church Road winemaker, Chris Scott.

The Church Road Cuve series is named after the large French oak fermenting vats (cuves) the winery pioneered in New Zealand. The series gives the winemakers at Church Road the opportunity to experiment and explore new varieties and techniques to create wine styles that are different from the other Church Road wines. Because of its experimental nature, it is quite possible that the available wines will change from year to year.

"Wine lovers can expect each new release to be a unique expression of a variety, vintage and winemaking technique," says Chris.

He credits the legacy of pioneer winemaker, Tom McDonald, who worked at the original winery on Church Road from the 1920s to the 1960s, as the inspiration for these wines. "Tom didn't look to do what other people were doing. He found new approaches to everything he did, and that spirit continues today."

Church Road Cuve Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2007 This Pinot Gris was grown entirely on the cool Matapiro vineyard, which is much further inland than typical Hawke's Bay vineyards. The ripe and concentrated fruit created an opulent, aromatic off-dry wine. The winemaker allowed 30% of the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation and applied extended lees contact to the whole blend for 10 months. Both techniques were very successful at enhancing texture, while still preserving the fresh pear, nectarine, spice and floral aromatics. - 2 -

Church Road Cuve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2006 This elegant Chardonnay does not rely heavily on new oak, but instead expresses complexity obtained from cloudy juice and wild yeast fermentation. The fruit was hand-harvested and whole-bunch pressed to avoid harsh extraction from the skins. The juice was filled to French oak barriques without any settling. Only 28% new oak was used, supporting the fruit without being dominant. The resulting wine expresses subtle, ripe stone-fruit flavours and an appealing roasted hazelnut aroma. The palate is full and fine-textured.

Church Road Cuve Hawke's Bay Merlot 2005 This is a pure varietal expression of the Merlot, without the usual Cabernet Sauvignon added to the blend. Hand-harvested from the Gimblett Gravels in an exceptional vintage, the fruit was crushed, then fermented in cuves with regular hand plunging and pumpovers. Once drained off the skins, the wine was filled to French oak barriques to begin 20 months of maturation. The resulting wine displays the supple texture, rich plumy fruit, new leather and perfumed violet aromas of ripe Merlot, supported by gentle oak.

Church Road Cuve Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 As a counterpart of the Merlot, this wine is a pure varietal expression of Cabernet Sauvignon without its usual blending partner. The fruit was mainly hand-harvested from the Gimblett Gravels, then crushed and fermented in cuves. The wine was filled to French oak barriques to begin 20 months of maturation. The resulting wine displays the firm, powerful palate structure typical of the variety, with rich blackberry, blackcurrant and fragrant dried lavender aromas complemented by an earthy complexity and integrated French oak.

The Church Road Cuve wines will be found mainly in fine wine and on-premise outlets and are expected to retail for about $27.00 off the shelf and will be available in selected fine dining restaurants.

A couple of Church Road Cuve wines will still only be available at the winery, including a new style Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec and a Marzemino.

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