Poverty Bay Wine Estates Reintroduces The Famous Bridge Estate Bordeaux Blend

Released on 22/10/2009

Poverty Bay Wine Estates Ltd will this weekend release a 2008 Bordeaux blend from the historic Bridge Estate vineyard - the first such wine in a decade.

The 2008 Poverty Bay Estates Matawhero Merlot Cabernets ends a drought of red wine production from the Bridge Estate vineyard, renowned for some of New Zealand's great Bordeaux-style red wines of the last 25 years.

The last Bridge Estate blend was the 1999, released by Denis Irwin's Matawhero Wines.

Although consideration was given to releasing the 2008 as Bridge Estate, and this had the enthusiastic supported of Denis Irwin, who continues as mentor, Poverty Bay Proprietor Klaus Sorensen decided that the 2008 should be released under the Poverty Bay label, in the knowledge that following this year's sensational vintage, the 2009 may be the best wine to come out of the Bridge Estate to date.

"We waited to see what the 2009 brought is, and being deeply superstitious dared not speak of the potential of the vintage, until the grapes were picked and in the winery."

"The result was, 2009 is probably the best vintage for 25 or 30 years in Gisborne and the red fruit came in at record levels of ripeness. Given the fantastic history and tradition of Bridge Estate, we decided this top label should be reintroduced using the best possible vintage.

"In which case we felt quite comfortable in producing the 2008, which was still a good year yielding a very good wine, under the Poverty Bay label.

"We can now deliver a pricing advantage for consumers who wish to ease themselves gently back into the legendary wines that Bridge Estate has produced, on and off, for nearly 25 years".

"Traditionally Bridge Estate sold for in excess of $40 a bottle, but the 2008 Matawhero Merlot Cabernets will have a friendly retail of $24 a bottle, with keener pricing for friends and those who show a bit of enthusiasm."

Meanwhile the 2009 will sit in oak, in its component parts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec, for another year before blending.

Also bottled, for the second year, is the Poverty Bay Riverpoint Rose, a particularly smart European styled rose with tremendous fruit development and savoury characters.

The 2008 Poverty Bay Merlot Cabernets is, even at this early stage, drinking well ahead of its age.

According to winemaker Anita Ewart-Croy:

"This integrated expression of classic Bordeaux varieties shows how well these wines complement each other when blended. Full, rich plum fruit flavours from Merlot are intensified by the dark berries of Cabernet franc and Cabernet sauvignon, and currant and spice from Malbec. The Cabernets also add structure and length, with ripe firm tannins, ensuring a balanced, concentrated wine from start to finish. French barriques perfect the ensemble, donating refined floral and nut nuances."

Formerly owned by Matawhero Wines Ltd, the six acre Bridge Estate vineyard, known as New Zealand's own ‘little corner of Bordeaux' recommenced production as of the 2008 vintage under the ownership of the Poverty Bay Wine Estates Ltd, owned by the Sorensen Family.

The vineyard contains the four classic Bordeaux varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec

Named after the old steel-arched Matawhero Bridge, the original crossing point over the Waipaoa River, which lies across the road from the vineyard, the Bridge Estate Bordeaux blend has been described over the years as possessing "a structure as solid as the bridge it was named after".

A replanting programme has taken place to bring the vineyard back to full health, with additional plantings of Malbec and Cabernet Franc to ensure flexibility in selecting varieties for blending purposes.

Poverty Bay purchased the Bridge Estate vineyard, label and name in 2007 and will continue that label for its premium wine, while introducing several other wines, including the Matawhero Merlot Cabernets and the Rosé, under the Poverty Bay label.


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