Te Awa Left field Albarino is an aromatic white wine made from the fantastic Albarino grape variety which is native to Galicia in Spain or Minho in Portugal (where it is known as Alvarinho). Albarino makes some fantastic wines and it is just starting to appear in countries other Spain or Portugal. This is the first New Zealand Albarino I have seen, but I have tried a another from Marimar Torres in California recently.
Te Awa is located on New Zealand’s North Island in the world famous Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay. The Gimblett Gravels have alluvial, gravelly soils ideal for growing vines. It is an ancient riverbed left behind after the Ngaruroro River, which meandered through the region until a huge flood changed its course in 1867. Te Awa o Te Atua means ‘River of God’ in Maori. The winery was established by the Lawson family in 1997. It however it was acquired by current owner George Fistonich (the founder and owner of Villa Maria) in 2012.The estate comprises some 80 hectares of vineyards, however the Leftfield range included fruit bought in from other growers in Gisborne, Nelson and Marlborough. The Leftfield range is a fun and whimsical range of wines that allows Te Awa to experiment a little more outside of their estate wines.
The Albarino grapes for the Te Awa Left field Albarino are bought from growers Paul Tietjen and Doug Bell, located just outside of Gisborne to the north of Hawke’s Bay. The fruit was hand picked and gently pressed to stainless steel tanks. The clear juice was racked and fermented with yeast selected to highlight the lovely aromatics and texture of this exciting variety.