Wine Thief completes Sacred Hill Chardonnay Collection
You’d be forgiven for thinking that one vineyard site can only produce one super-premium wine, but Sacred Hill’s
Rifleman’s Vineyard in Hawke’s Bay proves this theory wrong with its 2014 Chardonnay Collection. One Vineyard. One
winemaking team. But three distinctly different Chardonnays that all sit in Sacred Hill’s top tier, Special Selection.
The much anticipated release of the 2014 Sacred Hill Wine Thief Chardonnay, alongside the iconic 2014 Riflemans
Chardonnay and the unoaked 2014 Virgin Chardonnay, heralds the completion of the Sacred Hill Chardonnay Collection.
Perched high atop the dramatic cliffs which tower over the Tutaekuri River, Rifleman’s Vineyard is strikingly beautiful
and has earned an enviable reputation for producing top quality fruit. The neat rows of Chardonnay vines were among the
first to be planted by Sacred Hill 25 years ago and is now one of the few remaining blocks in New Zealand to remain
ungrafted on original heritage Mendoza stock.
Sacred Hill founder and Managing Director, David Mason says the Chardonnay Collection epitomises Sacred Hill winemaking.
“There’s always been a little bit of magic about Rifleman’s Vineyard and this comes through in the wines. The quality of
our Chardonnay this year is fabulous so to see these three wines lined up for the first time is a thrill for the whole
Senior Winemaker Tony Bish reveals Rifleman’s Vineyard holds a special place in his heart.
“The fruit from our Riflemans vines is pristine, particularly from the exceptional 2014 vintage, so we wanted to
showcase the vineyard in all its glory with three completely different wine styles. It’s a winemakers dream to work with
Chardonnay that has such incredible purity, focus and intensity.”
Bish says that if 2013 was Hawke’s Bay red wine vintage of the decade then 2014 was the Chardonnay equivalent and
therefore the perfect vintage to complete Sacred Hill’s Chardonnay Collection.
Testament to the fruit quality is the 2014 Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay which has been praised as one of the greats
in the Chardonnay world. A wine style unto itself, Riflemans Chardonnay is elegant and graceful. The intense fruit
flavours and delicate oak treatment deliver power, sumptuous texture and extraordinary length.
The 2014 Wine Thief takes its place in the Chardonnay Collection, having last being released in 2010, and initial
reviews show it to be a welcome return. Layered with citrus, vanilla and stonefruit flavours, Bish describes this wine
as richer and toastier than the more refined Riflemans Chardonnay.
The 2014 Virgin Chardonnay is a unique take on a Chablis-style wine, crafted from the first flush of pure, unadulterated
juice. This tight lower alcohol style is balanced with complex yeast characters, and is delicately handled right through
Bish often talks of the many faces of Chardonnay and the three 2014 Chardonnay Collection wines, from a single stellar
vintage and vineyard provide a compelling illustration of this.
Sacred Hill Riflemans Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014
Winemaker’s note – Pure tightly focussed aromas of citrus blossom and mandarin peel with hints of hazelnut and almond. The palate at this
time is tight knit and intense with citrus peel, nougat and hazelnut praline. The oak is seamlessly integrated yet
provides structure, power and length of the fruit intensity. Elegance and power that will ensure this wine has
Sacred Hill Wine Thief Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014
Winemaker’s note – Exceptionally rich and dense aroma of crème brulee, toasted hazelnut and roasted peach with a savoury overlay. The
palate is textured, rich and layered with roasted stonefruit, vanilla and a citrus pith flavoured, finely woven finish.
The aftertaste is lifted by citrus peel and complex nutty notes. A profoundly complex and powerful wine.
Sacred Hill Virgin Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014
Winemaker’s note – Pale straw appearance. The nose if lifted and floral with strong citrus blossom and hints of briny seashells. The
palate is tightly structured with vibrant lemon and lime notes and briny oyster shell characters. Taut and
Sacred Hill Chardonnay Collection wines are available from good wine merchants throughout New Zealand.