Awa Valley wines after a gap of about 6 months. They have a lovely vineyard property, and tastings are in a spacious cellar door overlooking rows of vines deep in the peaceful Kumeu countryside. The current lineup of wines is very impressive - not a dud among them.
Awa Valley is a very small family-owned winery. The vineyard was established in 1970 to supply grapes to local Kumeu River winery. In 1999 Stewart and Colleen Cameron purchased Awa Valley, growing grapes on contract for three years, then producing wines under their own label. Winemaking is by Shane Cox, a local who has his own label Corazon, in addition to contract winemaking for many Auckland growers.
They produce only 18,000 bottles (1,500 cases per year). 5 hectares are planted predominately in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, with the remainder in Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
The wines - my favourites are the 2007 Chardonnay and the 2008 Merlot Malbec
Elegant and integrated wine which is fruit-focused, with flavours of grapefruit, hazelnut, and honey plus a toasty a oak influence.
Spent 11 months in oak barrels. Similar flavour profile to the ’07 but more mineral and flinty.
2007 Pinot Noir
The grapes are from 25 year old vines which are aged in seasoned oak for 11 months. Aromas of ripe cherries and red fruits coupled with savoury notes of game and mushrooms. Silky tannins on the finish.
2006 Merlot Cabernet Franc Malbec
(Bronze Medal Romeo Bragato Wine Awards 2007)
"Light, soft and slightly sweet wine with a mix of berry and herb flavours. Pleasant, easy-drinking red that reminds me a little of Valpolicella" - Bob Campbell MW wine critic
2008 Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc
Rounder and softer than the 2006. Medium tannins. Earthy, soft and savoury with ripe black berry fruit, a hint of leather, soy and liquorice.
Phil runs the best wine tours in Auckland New Zealand since the Pre-Cambrian period.