Left Bank of the Ngaruroro River or Ohiti Valley is geographically opposite the famed Gimblett Gravels.
First off Gimblett Gravels is a world class wine region, one of the best, hand on heart.
Here on the left Bank we have all the soil types that make up the “other” gravels; Omahu Series, Omarunui series all deposited at the same time but we also have a different view or aspect on life.
What does all that mean, well we are tucked in behind Roy’s Hill and the hills that make up the Crownthrope terraces so very sheltered. This can be fun during frost season in spring but comes into its own during Summer and Autumn heat loading into those gravel soils. Mid 30 degree temperatures are very common, the vines love it but our staff really do it hard on those days. The heat coming off the stones makes the backs of your legs feel like they are cooking.
So the other thing about our protected piece of wine heaven is the cooler air that washing in at night, filling up the valley like a pool, this is where the protection of our fruit acidity comes from.
Making wine from cooked chardonnay is not what we want! So the shift from the hot hot days to cooler nights is how we roll, verses out right bank neighbours, this is why you will see far more Bordeaux reds in the gravels and less in Ohiti. At Kokako we grow far more chardonnay than any red grape.
But Syrah I hear you say!
Now it gets tricky. In Australia they call it Shiraz, big jammy, bold, a world beater. Here in NZ its Syrah one in the same grape but worlds apart in style. For us Syrah is treated like Pinot Noirs bigger bad ass brother, some very similar family genes like thin skins, scented, tricky to ripen properly. But there the family tree divides with Syrah colour is not really a problem, deep dark wines can be made, pepper and spice or violets and lavender aroma can come in spades.
So the hot days with plenty of fruit exposure to the UV rays followed by the acid protection evenings make for a truly iconic Hawkes Bay wine.