July 2, 2024In News, Winery Spotlight, Wines

Easthope’s on a Roll!

Not One, Not Two, But THREE Big Wins

Easthope Family Winegrowers Wines on a Winning Roll

They’ve done it again, and again, and again. Easthope Family Winegrowers can do no wrong in our eyes. We’ve written about them pretty extensively before seeing as we’ve been enthusiastically representing and championing their wines for years now, but they’ve just had an avalanche of (deservedly) high praise and honours bestowed upon them and their delectable drops…

Win #1: Metro 2024 Wine Awards

Easthope Family Winegrower's Wines

Easthope Family Winegrowers Home Block Syrah 2021

For the uninitiated, Metro is Auckland’s authority on dining, art, society, schools and property. It’s home to the definitive Top 50 lists of Bars, Wines, Restaurants and more.

For their Autumn 2024 issue (#442) Metro announced their long-awaited Top 50 list for 2024, as curated by 10 experts who tasted over 400 wines (detailed further below.) Not only did their phenomenal Home Block Syrah make the cut, it took out top place as the Best Red in category!

Easthope Family Winegrower's Home Block Syrah

Easthope Family Winegrowers Home Block Syrah 2021

Everybody talks about Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pā when it comes to Hawke’s Bay syrah, but here’s a turn-up for the books: inland Mangatahi (similar soils to Bridge Pā but a touch cooler) on the banks of the Ngaruroro River. It’s a region better known for its white and lighter red varieties, with extensive plantings of chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir up this way, but this syrah proves what you can do with some real TLC and an individual approach. It’s a big wine with beautiful aromatics of bramble and sweet red fruit. Plush, deep and dense, with more of that sweet fruit and concentration on the palate

And to add to this already wonderful success, their Two Terraces Chenin Blanc was named in the Top 50 as well, under the ‘Energetic Whites’ category.

Easthope Family Winegrower's Two Terraces Chenin Blanc

Easthope Family Winegrowers Two Terraces Chenin Blanc 2022

After a storied period as head winemaker at Craggy Range, Rod Easthope’s foray into winemaking for United Kingdom-based Naked Wines gave him and his wife Emma (also a winemaker with considerable experience, including stints in Malta, southern France and Greece) the impetus to set up under their own name. They now produce consistently excellent wines from their home block and with fruit from the nearby Two Terraces. This is a bigger style of chenin than the Amoise version below (made of grapes from the same site). Baked pear, hay, grassy paddocks and smoked apple with baking spices. Big and powerful with texture and ripe acidity — a great wine all around.

The Judges:
  • Renée Dale: Owner and winemaker, Moi Wines
  • Pete Connell: Sommelier and co-owner of By The Bottle
  • Edmundo Farrera: Co-owner of Tacoteca and La Fuente
  • Sophie Kim: Restaurant and bar manager at InterContinental Auckland
  • Marcus Atkinson: Head of Fine Wines & Whiskies, Webb’s
  • Angela Allan: Sommelier at large
  • Leah Kirkland: Group beverage manager at Josh Emett Restaurants
  • Hiro Kawahara: Sommelier and owner of Somm Cellars
  • Henry Oliver: Metro editor
  • Oliver Styles: Wine writer and winemaker at Halcyon Days

Win #2: The Real Review 2024 Top New Zealand Wineries

Easthope Family Winegrowers' Gamay wine

Every year, The Real Review releases its lists of the top wineries in Australia and New Zealand. Led by revered MWs Bob Campbell and Huon Hooke, The Real Review is a notable authority on wines in the market.

“We review around 10,000 wines each year, and are delighted to see so many wineries producing wines of outstanding quality.

The Real Review Top Wineries Certificate is awarded to a select group of wineries that consistently produce excellent wine. The Top Wineries list is a national benchmark that shows where your favourite winery is placed amongst its peers.

The Top Wineries list is determined by an algorithm, which takes into account the rating and recency of reviews by The Real Review team over the assessment period.”

No stranger to the Top Wineries list, Easthope is sitting pretty at #83 for 2024 – great placement considering the 700+ wineries in New Zealand! But they also placed #101 in 2013, #123 in 2022, #125 in 2020, and #118 in 2019, and Bob Campbell wrote about them in 2018, calling them a “Hot New Winery”.

Easthope Family Winegrower's Two Terraces Gamay

Easthope Family Winegrowers Two Terraces Gamay 2021

The third vintage made by Easthope from 22-year-old vines using 100% whole bunches and six weeks on the skins. Made without sulphur addition. Focused red with good berry, cherry and spice flavours that are supported by moderately firm tannins. Best served slightly chilled with cold meats and prosciutto.

Bonus from Bob: Bob Campbell also writes a section for the Air New Zealand Kia Ora magazine. For the June edition, he included the Easthope Family Winegrowers Two Terraces Gamay – 2021 as one of his selected 3 ‘Winter Warmer’ recommendation

Win #3: Cuisine Magazine Top 10 Syrahs

Easthope Family Winegrowers' Paddock Six syrah

Cuisine is a bi-monthly food and wine magazine published in New Zealand, “Imagine a vibrant hub where passionate home cooks mingle with industry leaders, all united by a love for food, drink, and beautiful design.” they describe.

For their June/July issue, they feature detailed write ups on ‘big, bold red wines’, of which the Easthope Family Winegrowers 2020 Paddock Six Syrah received one of the top scores.

August/September is a crucial time for Cuisine magazine as they host the ‘Cuisine Good Food Awards’ and award ‘hats’ (New Zealand’s equivalent of Michelin stars) so the wine being featured in the closely preceding issue is particularly great.

In their Syrah Tasting, they rated 36 New Zealand Syrahs, only 6 of which received 5 stars.

Easthope Family Winegrower's Paddock Six Syrah

Easthope Family Winegrowers Paddock Six Syrah 2020

Deep ruby in the glass with a hint of colour development at the rim, the nose is a melody of red fruit and game with just a hint of stem influence. The palate is rich and generous with bold tannins but a taut acid profile that gives linearity and ageability.