Estate, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
PO Box 7043, Taradale, Napier, Hawkes Bay, NZ
in 1851, this is New Zealand’s oldest winery, initially
established by Catholic missionaries who needed wines for
I tasted the wines with Peter Holley (right),
the CEO. I chatted about some tecchie issues with him. On the
Gimblett Gravels, where the reds here come from, you need to
irrigate. A while back he put an aquaflex in the ground which
measures moisture content. This has enabled them to cut back from
9 litres a day per vine to 3.5 litres a day. They do regulated
deficit irrigation, where they use aquaflex throughout the
vineyard coupled with palm pilots and spreadsheets to cut back
water at veraison, stressing the vines a bit but not too much.
For vine nutrition organic fertilizer is preferred.
Chicken manure works best.
They used to use Scott Henry trellising for the
Cabernet, but they have since decided to go VSP, and the impact on
the tannins over 18 months has been immediately noticeable. ‘We
now have consistent delivery of high quality fruit year after
year’, reports Holley. ‘Scott Henry is a swine, giving jagged
The red wines in particular impressed in this line up.
‘New Zealand can do good red wines and can do Cabernet’, says
Holley. ‘It’s just a matter of being particular and putting
the effort in.’
Mission Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Hawkes Bay
Fresh, grassy and assertive with bright fruit and good
acidity. 88/100 (£7.99)
Mission Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Hawkes Bay
Malolactic is done in barrel, where it spends four months.
Quite smooth and ripe with nice rounded texture plus some
freshness. There’s some minerality, too. A really nice wine.
Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2005 Hawkes Bay
Smooth, rounded and quite toasty with a lovely texture. A
really nicely balanced wine: smooth and rich with low profile oak
influence. 89/100 (£10.99)
Mission Jewelstone Chardonnay 2005 Hawkes Bay
This has higher acidity and spends longer on lees than the
Reserve. Lovely green apple/lemon freshness to the fruit. The
palate is fresh and bright with lovely oak integration. Super
fruit here: a stylish wine that’s rich but balanced. 91/100 (£13.99)
Mission Estate Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2005 Hawkes
Minerally, spicy, chalky freshness to the ripe berry and
blackcurrant fruit on the nose. There’s nice fruitiness on the
palate. It’s quite soft but there’s a minerally presence.
Delicious chalky gravelly structure here. 90/100 (£7.99)
Mission Jewelstone Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2004
Nice ripe smooth fruit with good structure. Good balance here
with a tarry, minerally edge to the fruit. Structured yet smooth.
Mission Estate Syrah 2005 Hawkes Bay
Lovely fresh, peppery spicy Syrah. There’s some richness to
the fruit, but it’s fresh and in focus – a delicious peppery,
spicy wine. 90/100 (£7.99)
Mission Reserve Syrah 2005 Hawkes Bay
Sweet dark fruits nose with some broody, meaty complexity. The
palate is sweetly fruited with nice, dark, spicy complexity.
Finishes bright and peppery. 91/100 (£10.99)
Mission Jewelstone Syrah 2004 Hawkes Bay
Lovely ripe, expressive wine with focused dark fruits
character and a spicy finish. There’s lots of interest here.
Good weight. 92/100
Wines tasted 01/07
these wines with wine-searcher.com