Tracing back the origins of vines can be very enlightening. The dominance of the ‘Limmer’ clone of Syrah, that is regarded as the progenitor in New Zealand, is so strong that in many quarters, it is called the ‘Heritage’ clone. Ant Mackenzie has released a delicious Gewurztraminer under his Craft Farm label. The fruit for the wine generally comes from cuttings from the Dry River vineyard in Martinborough, where he still consults. If Ant got his cuttings from the Dry River ‘Estate’, rather than the newer Colmar vines in the ‘Lovat’ vineyard, then those original cuttings would have come from Denis Irwin of Matawhero in Gisborne. Where Denis got his from is rather clouded in mystery now. The trail of spice ends here. However, Ant’s vines did come from the ‘Lovat’ site, and the Colmar cuttings can be traced to their Alsace development.
Tasting the 2014 Craft Farm ‘Home Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer with one of the Bassinet-Babes reminded me of some of the best Gewurztraminers from New Zealand that I had tasted. They of course included Dry River and Matawhero. Pale coloured, this is so stylishly concentrated that its development in the glass sneaks up on you, and suddenly you are nearly overwhelmed with its concentration, depth and detailed exoticism. Beautifully fine phenolic handling and poised acidity complete the picture. There’s no excess either, just intensity and fineness of character, with strength and style. You are both seduced and filled with admiration.