Brand new

Announcing a fresh crop of winemakers.

Wine consumption is on the slide: 610 New Zealand wineries are already bidding for your support, and imported labels are everywhere. None of this deters newcomers to the wine industry, though – a new brand is launched almost every week.

The latest is Cypress, from Gus Lawson, who founded Te Awa Farm (now Te Awa) winery in 1992 but sold the company in 2002. The wines are named after cypress trees that stud the vineyard, and the grapes are grown mostly at Roys Hill, in the Gimblett Gravels, on a terraced slope and on the stony flats below.

Made by consultant Rod McDonald, formerly of Vidal, the initial releases are estate-grown, except for the impressively scented, rich and dry Cypress Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2008 ($24.95). There is also a gently oaked Cypress Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2007 ($19.95), with strong grapefruit-like flavours and fresh acidity; a fragrant, plummy, peppery, supple Cypress Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2007 ($24.95); and a dark, rich and softly textured Cypress Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2007 ($19.95).

Written by Michael Cooper, Listener April 4, 2009.