A few months ago, I purchased a box of wine from a shop in Auckland, New Zealand. Part of my 15 bottle allocation was one bottle of 1999 Newton Forrest Estate 'Cornerstone' from the Gimblett Road region of Hawkes Bay. Gimblett Road, often known as Gimblett Gravels, is an old abandoned riverbed of the Ngaruroro River. Vines are litterally planted amongst the stones and gravel of the old river and struggle to survive. The resulting few bunches of grapes produce intensely flavored wines with mouth-filling tannins.
Cornerstone is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (61%), Merlot (25%) and Malbec (14%) and gives off an erotic nose of pencil shavings, cassis, tobacco, and blackberries. Smooth and silky on the palate with notes of dark chocolate, cassis, cedar and blackberries. Smooth tannins complete the finish. Not bad for a $30 bottle of NZ wine.
The New Zealand Winemaker's Centre in Auckland offers special shipping and export programs to customers in the United States. Visit them at www.nzwinemakerscentre.com