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Featured Reviews

Hancock & Sons 2018 ‘Lillies’ Rosé and Chardonnay

21 December,2018

John Hancock, one of New Zealand’s icon wine industry people has made a fresh start. For those with good memories, John arrived from Australia to join Delegats, making the company’s very successful Muller-Thurgau in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, and the outstanding 1982 Chardonnay. John then went on to establish Morton Estate, pioneering New Zealand Chardonnay barrel-fermentation along with the likes of Paul Mooney of Mission and Michael Brajkovich at Kumeu River. His next move was establishing Trinity Hill as one of the top producers in the Gimblett Gravels as well as building a range of fully representative Hawke’s Bay wines there with Warren Gibson.

After a number of years in an ambassadorial role with Trinity Hill, John left at the start of this year to return to ‘hands-on’ winemaking creating a business that his two sons could be involved with and take over. This is ’Hancock & Sons’; with elder son William (‘Willy’) who has 4 vintages under his belt, and Michael who has a business orientation. The company is focussed on Hawke’s Bay wines, the first from the 2018 vintage, made from contracted fruit, at the Moana Park facility. Here, I review the inaugural releases, the 2018 ‘Lillies’ Rosé and Bridge Pa Chardonnay. I understand there are other wines with greater complexities in the works.


Hancock & Sons ‘Lillies’ Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Pale peach-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is firm and tightly bound, but elegant in proportion, with very good depth of yellow stonefruit, quince, subtle notes of herbs and redcurrants, nuances of ref florals and thirst-quenching chalky minerals. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has luscious and juicy flavours of yellow stonefruits, quince, red berry and aromatic florals with suggestions of confectionary, forming a rich heart. The wine flows along a fine-textured, mouthwatering phenolic line with bright acidity enlivening the mouthfeel and providing vitality. The wine carries to a brisk, fragrant finish. This is a deliciously lush and juicy dry rosé with stonefruit, quince, red berry and floral flavours on a fine-textured, mouthwatering palate. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and Asian cuisine over the next 2 years. 100% Cabernet Franc from Bridge Pa, hand-picked and WBP, and fermented in stainless-steel to 11.5% alc. and 3 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $22.50

Hancock & Sons Bridge Pa Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2018

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is elegant in expression with fine proportions, and harmoniously interwoven aromas of white stonefruits, citrus fruit and peach, finely layered with subtle, spicy and nutty oak. This is fresh with an underlying firmness, unfolding barrel-work detail with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated core with flavours of citrus and yellow stonefruits harmoniously entwined with nutty and spicy oak supporting the fruit. The mouthfeel has depth and richness, and is balanced by fine textures and refreshing acidity. This has good linearity and carries to a lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated and rich-fruited Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruit flavours supported by a harmonious layering of spicy and nutty oak on a fine and fresh palate. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked clone 96 fruit from Bridge Pa, WBP and fermented, two-thirds in stainless-steel and one-third in French oak to 13.9% alc., the wine undergoing batonnage and MLF, the malic acid levels very low. 18.0/20 Dec 2018 RRP $25.00

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