The Apprentice was our host yet again, and there was a host of wines on offer to taste, drink and enjoy. Among them were two wines, the same label, separated by two decades of age – Te Mata ‘Coleraine’, these being the 2007 and 1987 vintages. The two years were very good years, but not the greatest. The appealing thought is that everything about them is the same – the grower, the maker, the philosophy behind them and even how they are talked about and marketed for selling.
For the record, they were both lovely wines, truly elegant in the classical claret style. The 2007 Te Mata ‘Coleaine’ a very finely proportioned Cabernets and Merlot blend, but with good richness and poer. Dark and almost brooding, countered by a hint of leafiness. The tannins fine and the acid giving enough of a fresh piquancy. This will age well, drinking at a peak in 5-6 years and holding more than another decade. How can I tell? Because the 1987 Te Mata ‘Coleraine’ was still alive and kicking, and had the presence to hang in there for another 5 years easily. Sure the 1987 is lighter, even more defined by acidity, and a little greener with currant and leafiness. The tannins still there, underlining the mouthfeel, and the wine very much a living thing. It’s an attractive drink.
However the wines aren’t similar. The fruit sources are different. 1987 was a single vineyard wine. 2007 drew fruit from a much wider area. The major change must be viticulture. These days, grapes are much riper, the acidity and tannins taken to a further level. The modern wine is better than the old in that respect. A paradigm shift for sure. Intentional or not? The goalposts are ever-shifting, and whether Te Mata people like it or not, they must be carried along with it towards a riper, richer style.