Te Mata Awatea 1998 (review)

91 points

Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 13.5%

This is a special wine, an outstanding NZ red. Which we have consumed many times – this is not a one-off tasting review. Sure it is a bit academic reviewing a wine that is unavailable to buy anymore but it is very interesting to see what NZ can do in great vintages.

At 7 years of age this is so like a high quality Bordeaux. Hard to pick blind ! Seemingly higher alcohol with less concentration. Perhaps like 1999 (in Bordeaux) ie ripe but a touch dilute.

Great physiological ripeness, silky smooth palate. And super deft oak. Te Mata really is first class. Increasingly they seem to be overlooked for more high powered (alcohol and extract) wines from new producers, but I think Te Mata really is NZ aristocracy. And in freakishly ripe vintages they produce wines like this, fine elegant but with flavours into the dark end of spectrum.

This is the sort of wine that everyone who lives in the “New World” hopes for. Top quality fine wine, but at a fraction of the price (in this case about $30). Unfortunately this is all too rare with wineries of only a few years old often trying for prices that are ridiculously high.

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