The 2015 vintage of Gimblett Gravels red wines has received top marks by international Master of Wine Andrew Caillard and for the gravels' winegrowers association chairman Gordon Russell it has achieved the trifecta.

"Three great vintages," he said of the 2015 selection chosen for international review joining the 2013 and 2014 line-ups.

"The previous two were probably easier but I think the 2015 has done it - it works," Mr Russell said.

It is the eighth year the selection initiative set up by the Gimblett Gravels Association has been running and Mr Russell said it served as a "snapshot" of a single vintage as well as charting the evolution of the now world-acclaimed reds from the unique Hawke's Bay region.


"As a body of work I think the 2015s are a lovely bunch of wines," Sydney-based Mr Caillard said.

He described some of the syrahs he tasted as "exceptional" and said they strongly underlined the potential of the variety in the gravels district.

Mr Caillard also applauded the varietal expression of the cabernet blends he tasted and eventually chose to be part of the top 12 Annual Vintage Selection packs which will now be sent out to key wine media and influencers around the world for review.

Mr Russell said the annual selection was important in keeping the Gimblett Gravels names firmly on the palates of international tasters.

He added it had been planned that Mr Caillard would carry out the selection each year as apart from his being strong on Bordeaux reds it meant that by keeping with one palate they achieved consistency from year to year.

At a recent Gimblett Gravels field day gathering members tasted the 2015 selection and were delighted with what had been produced.

They also discussed the 2017 vintage which Mr Russell described as challenging.

"But it could have been a lot worse - they will still be very enjoyable wines."


He added that the 2016 vintage was "looking really good".

Winemakers were getting smarter and the ageing of the vineyards was boosting flavours, he said.

"This selection [2015] is our showcase to the world."

For the first time a small quantity of Annual Vintage Selection sets will be available for purchase, in specially designed wooden cases, in New Zealand.

The 2015 Annual Vintage Selection

BLENDED REDS (Merlot or cabernet dominant)

Babich The Patriarch

Babich Irongate

Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Merlot

Sacred Hill Brokenstone

Stonecroft Cabernet Sauvignon

Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot


Craggy Range Le Sol

Ka Tahi Rangatira Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Vidal Reserve Syrah