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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Sunday, February 22, 2015

By Jove - Heron's Flight winery - Sangiovese

(A cautionary tale)

Heron’s Flight pioneered sangiovese about 17 years ago in the clay soils of Matakana. The first vines were planted in the late 1980s, by couple David Hoskins and Mary Evans, starting off with chardonnay, cabernet and merlot. Then in 1994 David’s infatuation with Italian wines led him to plant sangiovese. Since then, all the other vines have been pulled out and replaced with either sangiovese or latterly, northern Italian grape dolcetto. Sangiovese translates as ‘the blood of Jupiter’ and is the variety from which the famous Brunello di Montalcino red wine is made.

I was first introduced to the wine, by David and Mary about 14 years ago when I started my wine tour business. Since then I have got to know David and Mary and watched their wine develop to gain the attention of some of our top critics. On a recent visit, David handed me a bottle of the brand new 2013 release, and said, “Here. See what you think.”
So, I tucked the bottle inside a carry bag and popped it in the rear of the tour coach. All very well. On arrival at home, sadly ‘some items had moved during transit’ and when I opened the hatch, horrors – the carry bag slid out of the coach and landed in the gutter with a loud crack. I immediately thought, “Oh no. I can’t ask David for a second bottle. Plus I won’t be up that way for several weeks. Golly.”
Thus, the sight of a fiftyish man, furtively drinking red wine from a Pt. Chev gutter with a teaspoon did occur some time in the second week of February. Luckily, I soon got another Matakana tour booking and David supplied me with my second sample bottle. It tasted a whole lot better. I also opened a bottle of the 2012 second tier sangiovese for comparison.

Heron’s Flight Matakana Sangiovese 2012 $30.00
This is a second tier wine, made in years when David feels the quality is not quite up to premium level. Yet after three years bottle age, this wine is drinking very nicely. Earthy, smoky and black cherry aromas. Ripe flavours of blackberry, liquorice, and sour cherry, with a gently rustic long finish.

Heron’s Flight Matakana Sangiovese 2013 $60.00
Literally a few weeks in the bottle, this is very much a youngster but shows huge promise. Purple crimson colour. Aromas of ripe plum, spice and herbs. Opens out after decanting with rich ripe flavours of black cherry, dark berry fruit, spice and chocolate with a long finish. Fantastic.  I won’t drop another bottle of this one.

Heron’s Flight Vineyard
9 Sharp Road
09 950 6643 or 021 0258 8203
Open 7 days from 9.00 am. Don’t miss pizza on summer weekends!

Phil Parker is a wine writer and operates Fine Wine & Food Tours in Auckland