The 2018 and 2019 vintages yielded fruit of outstanding quality from all three vineyard areas: Bridge Pa, Te Awanga and Gimblett Gravels. However, the team fell in love with parcels from the latter two vineyards, behind the wines Sea and Stone. The distinctive terroir character simply shone through. By contrast, while the Bridge Pa fruit was impeccable, the team felt the grapes lacked the true ‘sense of place’ to stand alone as single wines in the Elements series. Instead, the Earth grapes went on to become important components of the Icon Wines Salomé and Airavata.
Sea is the wine of Te Awanga, on the shores of the Pacific. This area is something of a viticultural gem, encompassing an impressive range of sites and soils. It is fortunate in benefiting from persistent, luminous sunshine, the tempering effects of the ocean, and relatively low rainfall. As a result, the growing seasons is also extended, allowing a prolonged ripening period for the grapes.
The predominating characteristic of the soil here is an extraordinary band of free-draining shingle running across the front of the vineyard, just 50 metres from the coastline. The block was formed by the famous 1931 earthquake which raised the seabed by an extraordinary 4 metres.
Stone is the wine of Gimblett Gravels. An exceptional site, the 17-hectare vineyard is planted on deep greywacke gravels exposed after a cyclone in 1867 altered the direction of the Ngaruroro river. Free-draining, with very little top soil, these are poor soils ideally suited to red varieties.