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Trev’s the Man at Waimea

By July 23, 2012No Comments

Trevor Bolitho founded Waimeas Estates with his wife Robyn, eschewing apple orcharding in 1993. The business has grown and with 140 ha of vines, Waimea Estates has become one of the largest winegrowing operations, along with Seifried Estate in the Nelson area. Trevor and Robyn’s son Ben is now in charge at Waimea Estates and takes a particularly focussed role in tending the vineyards. He heads a most capable team with Trudy Sheild as winemaker and the vastly experienced Martin Carrington in marketing. Even though the company is established and key personnel in place, Trevor is still the man at Waimea Estates. He was on hand to meet us on our visit, and he was keen to take us around the winery and vineyards.

 
The winery has a 2 million litre tank capacity and handles around 1,200 to 1,400 tonnes of fruit. The fruit comes from four estate owned sites, the ‘Home’ block, around 80 ha in size, the ‘Hunter’ block with 20 ha, the ‘Hope’ vineyard with 40 ha, and Ben’s own vineyard the 20 ha ‘Lansdowne’ block which covers 20 ha. The soil type for the vineyards is stony loam. Over the years, the team have realised the subtle differences each site provides to the resultant wines. The suitability of each of the varieties to area, and the judicious blending of different parcels has resulted in the consistent style and quality that Waimea Estates is now known for. Waimea Estates is happy to focus on producing wines that are totally Waimea Plains in origin, without the need for inclusion of Moutere clay-soil fruit.
 
Bottled and New 2012 Vintage Waimea Wines Tasted
We enjoyed a quick luncheon with Trevor, Trudy and Martin at the quaint Waimea Estates café before heading out for a tour of site and the nearby vineyards. A palate teaser, the Classic Riesling 2009 has developed superbly with great finesse and subtle complexities matched by the slight sweetness. I missed the exceptional nature of this wine in its early days, but multiple gold medals have helped me see the error of my ways! With my lamb rump mains, it was fascinating and appropriate to see two vintages of ‘Trev’s Red’, the inaugural 2010 and the follow-up 2011. A judicious blend of later-ripening varieties, it would be a mistake to think this is a ‘bitza’ label using up what’s left over. Trudy puts a lot of thought into the blending and the structure, and as it’s named after the owner, it could never be a poor wine! The ‘Trev’s Red’ 2010, based on Cabernet Franc with Syrah and Malbec is more a broad Bordeaux-style, and now with some complexing secondary elements. The ‘Trev’s Red’ 2011, based on Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Viognier, is far more aromatic and Rhone-like, with finer and greater extraction. I reviewed the ‘Trev’s Red 2011 three months ago and was taken by how much greater clarity it showed this time around.

2012 looks to have been a top vintage in the Nelson district, and Trudy, Trevor and Martin were excited with what they have in the tanks, awaiting blending and bottling. A Gruner Veltliner 2012 showing classical spiced citrus, herb and white pepper aromatics and a surprisingly textural mouthfeel. This looks very promising. Two portions of Gewurztraminer 2012 were tasted, firstly a ‘pressings’ component which will probably account for one-third of the final wine. Concentrated and dense, almost essence of Turkish Delight, with slippery mouthfeel despite the depth and body. Then a ‘free-run’ portion, destined to make two-thirds of the blend, showing beautiful delicacy, finesse and gorgeous acid cut. Trudy has been working on the best sugar balance for the rosé wine and the Rosé 2012, based on Mariafeld clone Pinot Noir plus a secret component may have it right. Fresh strawberries, sweet and rich in fruit, yet with great stylish mouthfeel, carrying only 7 g/L rs. Pinot Noir is a significant wine for Waimea Estates, with 80 barrels, or 2,000 cases produced. The ‘House and Shed’ block Pinot Noir 2012, based on 115 and clone 5, dark, dense and concentrated with a firm drive and minerally nature. Then a ‘Pack House’ block Pinot Noir 2012, based on Dijon clones 667 and 777, possessing violet florals along with cherry and charry oak notes. Waimea certainly has plenty of variety from the different vineyard blocks. This was put forward by Trevor, and it was tasted here. After all, Trev’s the man! www.waimeabrands.com

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