Easthope Family Winegrowers Gamay
Wild whole bunch fermented, unfined, unfiltered & unsulphered.
In 1395 Phillippe the Bold banished the Gamay grape from Burgundy in favour of Pinot Noir. There are only 5 hectares of Gamay planted in the whole of New Zealand compared with 5000 hectares of Pinot Noir - so one could say that Phillippe's edict had a far reaching effect.
We have been fortunate to visit Beaujolais, the home of Gamay, and taste the best examples. Added to this Rod was lucky to share a bottle of 1929 Morgon - a bottle that clearly illustrates the potential of Gamay to produce a truly great wine. Since then we have harboured a conviction that Gamay could be ideally suited to Hawke's Bay climate.
So it seemed like destiny when a friend let us know of this forgotten parcel of Gamay on our doorstep. With a little persuasion, the vineyard owners allowed us to take over this parcel and sculpt the viticulture to meet our ambition for the resulting wine.
The hand picked bunches are tipped directly to the open topped fermenters to ferment. The slow release of juice and grape sugars to the yeast result in a long gradual fermentation. This is helped along by periodic foot-stomping to release more juice from the bunches. Six weeks later we drain and basket press the wine directly to oak barrels.
After the winter slumber in barrel, spring warmth catalyses a natural Malolactic fermentation. After a total of ten months in barrel, the wine is racked and bottled without fining or filtration.
This the third vintage of this wine. And it is fair to say that it is the wine that has really garnered most attention from wine critics and imbibers. This edition from the cooler 2017 vintage is a stunner.
Whenever we crack a bottle (very slightly chilled) it demands a charcuterie platter alongside.
Hand picked, fermented as whole bunches, basket pressed and aged in used French Oak barriques for 10 months. Aromas of cherry and lavender awake the senses. The palate is delicate, delicious and long.
Awards and Reviews
- 91/100 Points, Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
92/100 Points - Bob Campbell, MW: "The third vintage made by Easthope from 22-year-old vines using 100% whole-bunches and six weeks on the skins. Made without sulphur addition. Quite a tight, focused red with good berry, cherry and spice flavours that are supported by moderately firm tannins. Best slightly chilled. Great with prosciutto and cold meats. Drink 2018 to 2020."