Hospitality Business Magazine

Wine Thief completes Sacred Hill Chardonnay Collection

Sacred Hill picYou’d be forgiven for thinking that one vineyard site can only produce one super-premium wine, but Sacred Hill’s Rifleman’s Vineyard in Hawke’s Bay proves this theory wrong with its 2014 Chardonnay Collection.  One Vineyard.  One winemaking team. But three distinctly different Chardonnays that all sit in Sacred Hill’s top tier, Special Selection.

The much anticipated release of the 2014 Sacred Hill Wine Thief Chardonnay, alongside the iconic 2014 Riflemans Chardonnay and the unoaked 2014 Virgin Chardonnay, heralds the completion of the Sacred Hill Chardonnay Collection.

Perched high atop the dramatic cliffs that tower over the Tutaekuri River, Rifleman’s Vineyard is strikingly beautiful and has earned an enviable reputation for producing top quality fruit.  The neat rows of Chardonnay vines were among the first to be planted by Sacred Hill 25 years ago and is now one of the few remaining blocks in New Zealand to remain ungrafted on original heritage Mendoza stock.

Sacred Hill founder and Managing Director, David Mason says the Chardonnay Collection epitomises Sacred Hill winemaking. “There’s always been a little bit of magic about Rifleman’s Vineyard and this comes through in the wines.  The quality of our Chardonnay this year is fabulous so to see these three wines lined up for the first time is a thrill for the whole team.”

Senior Winemaker Tony Bish reveals Rifleman’s Vineyard holds a special place in his heart.

“The fruit from our Riflemans vines is pristine, particularly from the exceptional 2014 vintage, so we wanted to showcase the vineyard in all its glory with three completely different wine styles. It’s a winemakers dream to work with Chardonnay that has such incredible purity, focus and intensity.”

Bish says that if 2013 was Hawke’s Bay red wine vintage of the decade then 2014 was the Chardonnay equivalent and therefore the perfect vintage to complete Sacred Hill’s Chardonnay Collection.

Testament to the fruit quality is the 2014 Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay, which has been praised as one of the greats in the Chardonnay world.  A wine style unto itself, Riflemans Chardonnay is elegant and graceful.  The intense fruit flavours and delicate oak treatment deliver power, sumptuous texture and extraordinary length.

The 2014 Wine Thief takes its place in the Chardonnay Collection, having last being released in 2010, and initial reviews show it to be a welcome return. Layered with citrus, vanilla and stonefruit flavours, Bish describes this wine as richer and toastier than the more refined Riflemans Chardonnay.

The 2014 Virgin Chardonnay is a unique take on a Chablis-style wine, crafted from the first flush of pure, unadulterated juice. This tight lower alcohol style is balanced with complex yeast characters, and is delicately handled right through to bottling.

Bish often talks of the many faces of Chardonnay and the three 2014 Chardonnay Collection wines, from a single stellar vintage and vineyard provide a compelling illustration of this.