It was a pleasure to meet the team of Ohau Gravels in person at the Wine Loft for a celebratory launch of their 2011 wines. This is their third vintage from 20 ha of vines planted just south of Levin. The Ohau Gravels region, the nearest winemaking vignoble to Wellington, has, in the space of three vintages, shown its promise with a series of quality wines. Director Dave Munro introduced fellow directors and the key personnel involved, viticulturist Kate Gibbs and winemaker Jane Cooper who discussed their roles.
The Woven Stone Ohau Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is a crisp and intensely varietal wine with racy acidity and up-front gooseberry, passionfruit aromas and flavours that any wine drinker will understand. The Ohau Gravels Ohau Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is an altogether more sophisticated affair with a tight and restrained nose at this early stage of its life, but the presence and weight are significant clues of the layers of flavour and richness that will unfold. And there is a welcome return to style with the Ohau Gravels Ohau Pinot Gris 2011 to that of the trophy-winning 2009 vintage. Lifted, aromatic fruits with a subtle unctuousness are signs of the latent quality that has emerged in the 2009 version, which was offered for tasting. This latter wine has developed good secondary interest now and is drinking on its plateau.
A Pinot Noir is in the wings, as are ‘Reserve’ styled expressions of the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, which have undergone significant oak treatment to build in greater complexities. These wines will be well-worth looking forward to, in addition to the current new-release wines tasted here, as they open up and put on more weight.
The optimism of the Ohau Gravels people was clear to see, and it would not be surprising to see another 20 ha of vines planted in the near future to accommodate the growth that is sure to happen. www.ohaugravels.co.nz