Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Tukipo River Estate Tasting with Roland Norman, owner and winemaker

We were really pleased to welcome Roland into the office today to taste his fabulous range of wines from his much loved Tukipo River Estate, a relatively new addition to the Bancroft Portfolio.
Tukipo River Estate is located in the beautiful Central Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand and is run by the very passionate Roland and his wife Kate. The vineyards are at an altitude of 300 metres, just under the Ruahine Mountains near the Tukipo River.

The climate here is perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay due to the high diurnal temperature range and flow of air from the river that helps to keep frost at bay to some extent. The first vines were planted in 2001, covering a total of 10 ha, and the first commercial vintage was in 2006, starting with the Fat Trout and Fat Duck wines. Roland came up with these unusual names as he thought what he might like to eat while drinking the wines!
As for the wines we tasted, all four showed extremely well. Roland’s philosophy is for an old world style with new world fruit and this is evident in all of his wines, but especially in the flagship Fat Duck Pinot Noir and the Fat Trout Chardonnay.

Here are my notes:
Fat Snapper Chardonnay 2010
This wine is dense and fruit-driven in style with passion fruit and tropical aromas. It has a superb crisp acidity and elegance. Roland has made this style of Chardonnay to suit those who do not like Chardonnay. It is 10% barrel fermented with 5% malolactic fermentation and lees stirring for the first two months. This wine has recently received 5 stars from Yvonne Lorkin, a well known journalist in New Zealand.
Price per bottle: £15.30
Fat Trout Chardonnay 2010
This is a more traditional style of Chardonnay, elegant and understated with aromas of peaches and delicate floral aromas. The palate is round and rich with toasty oak flavours that linger onto the long finish. This wine is 100% barrel fermented (40% new) with 100% malolactic fermentation.  Roland used batonnage every two weeks for the first six months.
Price per bottle: £24.90 
Fat Pheasant Pinot Noir 2009
Ruby in colour, this pinot has wonderful crunchy red fruit flavours with spicy hints of oak and leather. Classic in style, this Pinot is elegant and delicate with a crisp acidity. Roland says his pinots are more similar to those that come from Martinborough than Hawke’s Bay due to similar soils and climate. The pinot grapes for this wine come from vines that are two years’ younger than those used for the Fat Duck. The wine is aged for nine months in oak of which 20% was new oak.
Price per bottle: £16.50
Fat Duck Pinot Noir 2009
The Fat Duck is Roland’s flagship wine and my personal favourite. This pinot has a stunning Burgundian nose and is very much old world in style. Cherry fruited, elegant and Chambolle-esque, this wine is sure to impress.  It has great depth and concentration with an earthiness that carries on through to the long finish. 18 months in oak, 40% new oak. I have been assured by Roland that this pinot is simply delicious with Duck. I know what I will have for dinner tonight!
Price per bottle: £27.30
To buy these wines please click here

Written by Claire Scott-Gall

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