It’s a bit irreverent, but SWMBO and I have called Grant Edmonds ‘Grunt’. It’s also rather unfair, because he’s actually very articulate. He is though, sparing with his words and his tone is very quiet. However his winemaking is rather clever and articulate. His and his wife Sue’s first own label ‘Redmetal Vineyards’ release was with the 1996 vintage. Never one to mince words, it was all about Merlot, with anything else quite secondary. I reckon he still has that tenet, but of course, time has mellowed him. He’s accepting of Cabernet Franc and Syrah. They are Hawke’s Bay classical varieties for sure. Put forward Cabernet Sauvignon and Grant will grunt. It just doesn’t ripen consistently to make it worthwhile having in the ground. But he does use it, when it suits.
He gave me a pressie, way back when. It was a magnum of his then flagship. And at the A-Prentis party, we opened it – a 1996 Redmetal Vineyards ‘Basket Press’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5 L. At 21 y.o., it was still on its maturity plateau. Lovely ripe black plum and berried fruits, with just the right amount of savoury dried herb and earthy secondary development to give it a complex layering. The fruit was still sweet, and the tannins sufficient in structure to give it the bones to keep on aging. There was an underlying freshness, that indicated another decade of life was well within its capability – in magnum of course. The Redmetal brand has had its ups and downs, due to the degree of attention lavished upon it, but it is returning to its former glory. Grant will not be grunting much more.