Over the past 20 years, I have had both the opportunity and pleasure to visit many wine regions, meet the winemaker/owner and taste some of the finest wines and vintages in the world. I can imagine that right about now, most of you will be thinking about; Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Tuscany and many other classic wine regions and Chateaux around the world.
But I think it important to remind each of us, that the opportunity to visit and taste one of the finest wines in the world is located here in our own backyard, on Waiheke Island.
Stonyridge-Larose is an outstanding achievement by Stephen White (owner/ chief winemaker) and the team at Stonyridge to have 27 years of world-class, benchmark quality Cabernet predominant wines here in New Zealand.
Stephen planted his vines and started producing these true varietal expressions of Bordeaux grapes, of a quality and with a personality that shows true respect for what one looks for and understands in each of these grapes from Bordeaux and other unique regions around the world. Stephen has embraced and taken on the challenge to express these sophisticated, classic varietals and produced wines of such quality and of interest to so many - we are able to pull the cork on 20 plus years of Stonyridge - and put them through their paces and score them as hard as you would any ‘First Growth’ or vintage wine at prices considerably higher.
It is a credit to Stephens’s foresight, kiwi ingenuity and his passion for excellence in the art and science of wine, and in the blending of ‘terroir’ and the Southern Hemisphere personality into each wine.
I had the pleasure to host a lunch with Hugh Johnson, his wife Judy, Stephen White, John Hawkesby and ‘Grahame Haggart’ at the winery sometime ago, and to have Stephen talk us through each growing season/ vintage and to have Hugh describe his thoughts on the finished wines in turn was another experience that will not be forgotten by all who shared that day for a very long time.
Wine is such a personal experience - it’s such a pleasure to know that we have a library of quality wines from Stonyridge that each of us and many other wine enthusiasts can go to and choose from, to make any occasion, cuisine and conversation with friends come alive.