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September 29 New Zealand

Crossing The French New Zealand Bordeaux

By: rachel

I don’t know about you, but none of the communion wine I’ve tasted has been memorable.

This is also the only wine I would ever think to associate with church. Yet here we are, standing on Church Road, a quaint part of Hawke’s Bay where fine wines draw crowds as you’ve never seen before.

Are you ready for a wine trip – mentally and geographically? If you’re a fan of French blends but don’t want to go all the way to France for them, try this corner of the world. Church Road Winery is famous in New Zealand for being the first winery to craft Bordeaux wine.

Everything followed on from here. Hawke’s Bay became a haven for fussy, eclectic wine connoisseurs who only wanted the best and didn’t want to find it anywhere else. I mean, the more obscure, the better, right? Who wants to go where everyone else has already been, when you can be a part of the colonizing crew?

The vines in the vineyards have spanned decades and produced some damn good drops (no bias here). Put this in the same room as some good old traditional, and you’ve got a foolproof recipe that could satisfy even the most pretentious of wine drinkers.

Hawke’s Bay produces the fruit, and Church Road uses their arms. One arm is responsible for preserving the Old World ways of smashing grapes, while the other keeps up with technological advancements, making sure that all bases are covered.

Let’s talk about vats. Big, fat, oak vats. These aren’t just any old vats – French wine won’t settle for anything but the best. Instead, these are vats specially imported from, you guessed it, François itself. Ironically, in fact, you couldn’t get a more French New Zealand winery. Even the style definition and tannin management are French, for goodness’ sake.

When you’re putting it back, though, you’ll be thankful. There’s a reason that French wines are famous, and there’s a reason that Church Road has built the bridge all the way to France from Hawke’s Bay.

Alright, enough of the fluff. Let’s get to the meat of this wine sandwich.

Church Road Wine Varieties

McDonald Series: we can confidently say that there are too many varieties in the McDonald series to mention. So, we’ll use our expertise and discretion to pick what we think you’ll love the most.

Cabernet Sauvignon: who doesn’t love a good cab sav? If you remember what it tastes like, you’ll know to expect deep fruits with a taught palate – and with McDonald’s version, you won’t be disappointed. Not only do you get finesse and fragrance in this wine, but you also get elegance and power. Sounds like the whole package.

Chardonnay: hear us out, now. We know that it takes a special kind of person to fall in love completely with chardonnay. But if that person indeed does exist, you’ll most likely find them at Church Road buying a case of twenty of these.

Older oak barrels have been used in the processing of this variety, producing an impressive, highly complex Chardonnay that is both fruit forward and fragrant. You’ll also notice a bit of nougat, some hazelnut, and even gunflint if you’re concentrating.

Now, as much as we’d like to keep harping on about the McDonald series, this isn’t all that Church Road has to offer. In fact, this winery has just discovered what it means to produce a stellar version of a rose.

Gwen rose, aptly named after Tom McDonald’s wife Gwen, is both refreshing and dry with an elegant style. You’ll want to sit back on a hot summer’s day to enjoy this one.

One thing’s for sure about Church Road. If you like French accents, French tradition, and just about anything else French, you’ll want to visit Church Road.

While it may not remind you of Sunday morning communion, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, either.

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