Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Hawke’s Bay)
Current owners of Stonecroft, Dermot McCollum and Andria Monin, started making a 100% cabernet sauvignon cuvée in the great Hawke’s Bay vintage of 2014, from vines that were planted in 2000 and 2001. Hand-picked entirely on 12 April 2019 from their BioGro organic-certified Corners Vineyard at the base of Roy’s Hill, only 200 cases of this were made from the excellent 2019 vintage. Coming in at only 12% alcohol, it is sensitively made, with low sulphur. Distinctly cool-climate cabernet, this has the hallmark fresh leafiness of the variety, with refined cassis, violet florals and cedar held amid a soaring structure of acidity and firm but refined tannins. The oak is noticeable but in balance, having aged for 18 months in barrels, and the low- sulphur winemaking lends it both softness in fruit and also some brooding funk. Two judges commented on the “beauty of the vintage showing through”, and it has the balance to age for another decade, though it would be entirely understandable if most bottles were enjoyed before then.