Topic of the Week 8/2/2019 - Master

Setúbal and its virtues last week from , , and . Great points made in terms of finding older wines that are still affordable as Madeira and Port prices rise. Another thing I'll add is that I discovered that I've been pronouncing Setúbal wrong for years. I would always  put emphasis on the last syllable - set-too-ball, but in fact because the accent is on the u it should be pronounced set-too-bl.

This week: Gimblett Gravels

Break down the specifics of this region. Is it all deep alluvial fans? What are the other influencers?

  • Gimblett Gravels is located within Hawke's Bay on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. Wine growing here is fairly recent as the first vines were planted in the early 1980s. Currently, there are about 700 ha of vines which are planted on mostly gravel soils left from the former course of the Ngaruroro River. This river flooded and changed course in 1867, creating large alluvial fans of Omahu and Greywacke gravel in the Heretaunga Plains. 

    Interestingly, Gimblett Gravels is not technically a geographic region, but a trademarked private organization of producers with a heavy focus on terroir. To my knowledge, it is the only area in the new world that sets it's boundaries based on soil type. 

    Climate is also a defining influence as this area is warmer and drier than the surrounding Hawke's Bay. Known for red wine production, Bordeaux varieties and Syrah ripen well in this marginal maritime climate. Daytime temps are typically a few degrees higher thanks to heat retention of gravel soils and its location further inland (about 12 miles) from the Pacific Ocean.