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2016 Golden Egg Chardonnay
First up was the Easter release of the 2016 Golden Egg. The 2015 was a sell-out success, so there was much anticipation. The 2016 is truly beautiful, and has had an extraordinary reception by the trade, critics and our lovely customers.
Growing in volume from one concrete egg to two, we sold out on allocation to the trade in just four days! But we have saved some stock for our new cellar door and our many Chardonnay fans. Hand harvested Mendoza (free run juice only) was used for ferment in the unique concrete eggs. Like the 2015, seamless seductive texture is a strong feature, along with true purity of fruit and a beautiful line of acidity, finishing with a delicate mineral slatey finish.
Truly unique, this is a chardonnay unlike no other. Be quick.
2016 Heartwood Chardonnay
On May Day, we released a brand new addition to our range, a classic Hawke’s Bay barrel fermented Chardonnay we called “Heartwood”.
Mendoza hand-picked fruit was barrel fermented and matured in 25% new French oak barriques, and the balance in one and two year old barrels. We called this Heartwood as it is the heart-wood from the centre of the mighty French oak trees that yields the tight grain selection of staves we purchase in our top end barrels. These staves are then seasoned for three years outside in the elements to weather and soften the oak tannins, before being crafted into barriques. This is a timeless and truly intriguing art, which we revere greatly. Over time, we will bring the story of the forest giants and the incredible process of making barrels to the fore.
Our cellar door will contain educational features, and guided winemaking tours will elucidate the story of Quercus Robur, the mighty French Oak giants of the forest.
We have been working to establish a home for Tony Bish Wines, and are delighted to announce we are building a stunning Urban Winery in the old National Tobacco Company iconic Art Deco building in Ahuriri, within the Port precinct of Napier.
Colloquially known as the “Rothmans” building, this is a stunning piece of Art Deco industrial architecture and a national treasure. We just managed to shoe-horn the vintage in, complete with concrete eggs, barrels and more, and are now fitting out the cellar door area ahead of a planned opening in September this year. Very exciting! We have had some wonderful help from some of New Zealand’s most talented creative individuals, so its funky, totally unique, and very welcoming.
Please come and visit after opening, and check our website for opening hours.
The Ovum-Innovating Chardonnay
To celebrate our new Urban Winery, we pushed the boat out and purchased the most unique and stunning barrel in the world- a Taransaud Ovum. This French Oak egg shaped barrel is the only one in NZ, and one of only a few in the world. Like the concrete eggs, the natural convection currents keep yeast lees in suspension, creating a rich creamy texture, and in the case of the Ovum, seamless integration of oak. It is a piece of the most beautiful wooden sculpture, and totally captivating. For this inaugural ferment, we have filled our Ovum with free run Skeetfield vineyard Mendoza from these venerable old dry farmed vines.
Watch this space, first release likely November 2018.
We are very happy to announce the long awaited release of the 2015 Skeetfield Vineyard Chardonnay. Hand harvested from old friend Denis Gunn’s vineyard, this is Hawke’s Bay Old Vine Dry Farmed Mendoza, and it just doesn’t get any better than that!
Gently pressed to barrel, this has been fermented in Taransaud oak, one of the finest French cooperages, with 60% new barrels and the balance seasoned Taransaud oak. These beautiful barrels impart complex flavours and aromas, and fantastic length to the palate. Powerful yet supple, this is a finely tuned Chardonnay.
Last month we released the 2015 Golden Egg Chardonnay, made in our NZ made concrete egg fermenters. This was such stand out success, we were sold out in two weeks! So sorry to all those that have missed out, but check our website as we held back a few precious cases.
Bob Campbell, M.W.; Rich and fleshy chardonnay, with intense peach and tree fruits seasoned with nutty yeast lees and spicy oak. Smooth-textured, creamy and weighty wine showing impressive power and a lingering finish. 95/100 Five Stars
Raymond Chan: The fruit depth and extract lends a very fine-textured grip and line, which is balanced by the creamy barrel-ferment. The fruit vitality and fresh, piquant acidity provide a lively and energetic mouthfeel. The wine carries with plenty of drive and tension to a very long, concentrated and taut finish of stonefruits, mealy and nutty oak. This is a rich, concentrated and complex layered and detailed Chardonnay with vibrant, mealy, stonefruit flavours, nutty and creamy oak and a vibrant, fresh palate. 19.5/20 Five Stars
Big thanks to Max Parks and Zoe Chisholm of Unit Design for their incredible design work. Labels as beautiful as the wines they clothe.
Fat n Sassy and Summertime Chardonnay continue to rock, these are such great value everyday drinking Chardonnays. Gracing the wine lists of such great restaurants as Ostro, Moo Chow Chow, Little Miss Moonshine, Avida, the Sugar Club Sky City, and many many more.
Enjoy all, Chardonnay is King.
The 24th HB Wine Auction was held on the weekend, and 450 peeps were treated to some amazing and unique wines. This is a benefit auction for Cranford Hospice, so a great cause. Amazing sponsorship and support by the community along with extraordinarily generous wine donations make this a very special event.
The Tony Bish Arts Collective was amazing! Twelve magnums of my first Chardonnay made in a concrete egg, a framed Richard Brimer photograph taken at Te Awanga (time lapse evening, beautiful), and Jeff Thompson sculpture. Check this out;
This Collective went for $4700, which was incredible.
So get to Hawke's Bay next November and be involved in NZ's oldest and best wine auction. There are some great value lots, and many totally unique wines.
Ka kite ano.
Spring has sprung, the new growth is rapidly accelerating towards the sun, reaching up with youthful vigour. The tightly knurled bunches are visible, hard little green balls of promise within. Soon, the little flowers will open, the cap will hopefully fly off under a good warm Nor'wester, and the stamen will spring forth and dust their pollen back onto the awaiting loins within. Yes, these are hermaphrodite flowers, self pollinating miracles. No bees are required for grapes to flower and set, just warm dry conditions so the cap that constrains the stamen detaches freely.
Back at the winery, other miracles are occurring. The yeast that have performed their intoxicating magic of converting sugar to ethanol (God bless them Little Creatures) are now slowly relaxing, gently withering, and releasing the complex nutrients and organic wonders of the cell wall. These very un-sexily named organic goodies are the difference between the ordinary and the sublime. They bring texture, weight, complexity, and a distinct aroma of freshly baked bread (or Brioche to be specific!). Hence "lees" (yeast) aged Chardonnays are richer, more soft and rounded, and reminiscent of Sunday morning at the bakery. Yum!!
This enriching natural process is happening from now until autumn in my barrels and concrete eggs. Just before next harvest, we will "rack" the wines off the yeast lees, and clarify in preparation for bottling. But already now I can assess each wines character and personality, and can get genuinely excited about the wines that will soon become bottled wine. And I am more than a little excited, these wines are looking spectacular!!
In the meantime, the 2014 Fat n Sassy release has been fantastic! Two 5 Star reviews straight off the bat from Raymond Chan and Sam Kim - wow! This release is richer and fatter than the 2013, as this is what you my customers asked for. Its truly beautiful, and extraordinary value.
The new baby is the Gisborne 2015 Summertime Chardonnay from the legendary Judd Estate vineyard in Patutahi. These boys have forgotten more than most growers know about growing great Chardonnay. Its a soft tropical fruity wine with lovely smoky oak complexity. Totally more-ish. Perfect for summer beach barbeques and long lazy lunches. A smile, a kiss, a sip of wine, it's Summertime!
Skeetfield Old Vine Dry Farmed Mendoza Chardonnay vines. This amazing vineyard provides the grapes for my super premium barrel fermented Chardonnay. First release about August next year. Thanks to my mate and grower, Denis Gunn.