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A "rich and weighty" Chardonnay made from grapes of selected parcels from Matawhero's Briant and Tietjen vineyards across Gisborne.
Alluring aromas of floral nuances, stone-fruit, butterscotch and toasty brioche are followed by a rich, nutty body. Flavours of stone-fruit, especially peach, and butterscotch continue on the palate encased in a weighted, creamy mouth-feel.
"The juice was inoculated with the indigenous yeast from this vineyard, which provided layers of flavour and aroma complexity, as well as a wonderful palate texture. The juice was cool fermented till dry and then underwent full malolactic fermentation and spent 4 months on lees before being stabilized and bottled. A portion of the blend is fermented and aged in a combination of American and European barrels. The barrels selected here are from the parcels we don’t deem quite good enough to make the Irwin status but are still of exceptional quality to even be considered! The wine also undergoes full malolactic fermentation."
Gisborne, New Zealand
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The Matawhero story begins in the 1960s when W. N. (Bill) Irwin purchased a block of land at Riverpoint Road in an time when the area was mainly used for growing maize or raising livestock. In 1969 the vineyard starts to supply contract grapes for the local wineries and Matawhero describe this time well, saying "as a bookseller with no horticultural background, people laughed at Bill all the time, but the clones propagated by Matawhero were taken up by most NZ vineyards to form the basis of the emerging industry."
In 1975 the first wines under the Matawhero label are produced and so begins the legacy. The Irwins remained at the helm until 1999 which was the last vintage in which they produced a large volume of wine. It 2000 Denis, Bills son as Bill had passed away in 1985, sells the bottom block of the Matawhero vineyard to Montana leaving approximately 38 acres and the winery.
The Irwins remained at the helm until 2008 (1999 was the last vintage in which they produced any wine). In 2000 Denis, Bills son as Bill had passed away in 1985, sells the bottom block of the Matawhero vineyard to Montana leaving approximately 38 acres and the winery. After a lot of hard work revitalising the site, the Searles produce their first vintage in 2009.
Since then, both the Church House series has been launched as well as the Irwin Chardonnay which pays tribute to those who established the vineyard.
Read Sip NZ wines interview with Kirsten Searle of Matawhero here.