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Michael Cooper reviewed Elephant Hill's latest Icon release

2015 Airavata Syrah

An emerging star. The very classy, stylish 2015 vintage (5*) was estate-grown and hand-harvested in the Gimblett Gravels (71 per cent) and at Te Awanga (29 per cent), co-fermented with a splash of Viognier (1.7 per cent of the blend), and matured for 26 months in French oak casks (40 per cent new). It has deep, bright, youthful colour, with a beautifully fragrant, fresh, spicy bouquet. A full-bodied, graceful, supple red, it has concentrated, plummy, slightly peppery and nutty flavours, savoury notes adding complexity, and a very harmonious, finely textured, persistent finish. Already delicious, but still unfolding, it should break into full stride from 2022 onwards.

2015 Hieronymus

The powerful, sturdy, rich 2015 vintage (5*) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (41 per cent), Merlot (22 per cent), Cabernet Franc (17 per cent), Malbec (12 per cent) and Tempranillo (8 per cent), estate-grown in the Gimblett Gravels (58 per cent) and the Bridge Pa Triangle (42 per cent). Matured for 26 months in French oak casks (50 per cent new), it is a boldly coloured, fruit-packed red, with a fragrant, spicy bouquet. Still youthful, it is full-bodied, with dense, well-ripened blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, hints of pepper and licorice, good tannin backbone, and a long, very harmonious finish. Best drinking 2022+.

2017 Salomé

The very youthful, tightly structured 2017 vintage (5*) was estate-grown at Te Awanga (principally) and in the Bridge Pa Triangle, and fermented and matured for a year in French oak casks (33 per cent new). Bright, light lemon/green, it has an inviting, complex, fragrant bouquet. Intensely flavoured, it is vibrant, peachy and citrusy, with well-integrated, biscuity oak, good acid spine and a persistent, harmonious finish. Full-bodied, crisp and highly concentrated, with obvious potential, it's well worth cellaring to 2022+.

May, 2019

Sam Kim reviewed Elephant Hill's latest Icon release

2015 Airavata
A compelling rendition; the impressively complex bouquet shows blackberry, Black Doris plum, dark spice, cedar and cocoa characters with nuances of floral and game. The palate is superbly concentrated and weighted, delivering waves of delicious flavours and rich texture, brilliantly structured by seamlessly woven tannins. Sumptuous and graceful, destined for a long life. At its best: 2020 to 2032.

2015 Hieronymus

This is profound and compelling; the superbly expressed bouquet shows crème de cassis, Black Doris plum, vanilla, spicy oak and cocoa characters with hints of dried herb and mixed spice. The palate delivers outstanding concentration and depth, wonderfully complemented by layers of rich texture and polished tannins, finishing impressively long and engaging. A blend of 41% cabernet sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 12% Malbec and 8% Tempranillo. At its best: 2024 to 2035


2017 Salomé

Seductive and sensuous, this splendidly composed chardonnay shows golden peach, rockmelon, lemon peel and brioche characters with nuances of vanilla and cedar. The palate is superbly weighted and expansive, delivering delectable fruit flavours together with stylish oak infusion, finishing persistent and creamy. It is opulent yet elegant with layers of fine texture. At its best: now to 2025


May, 2019

Elephant Hill's latest reviews from Bob Campbell MW and Cameron Douglas MS

2017 Salomé Chardonnay
"Immediately complex with a Meursault-like bouquet of cashew spice, cold smoke, grapefruit peel, apple and peach. A complex and lengthy wine on the palate with flavours that mirror the nose. Satin texture with a light creamy butter note and a bit of new oak. Primed for cellaring with drinking from 2021/22 and through to 2030. An excellent wine." 97 points - Cameron Douglas MS
"Only the second vintage of Elephant Hill's flagship chardonnay with just 111 cases produced. Most of the grapes from Te Awanga with some from a low-cropped section of their Bridge Pa vineyard. Concentrated yet restrained chardonnay that is rather taut at this early stage with chalky, mineral, citrus, brioche and bran biscuit flavours. Should develop well with bottle age. Drink now - 2025." 95 points - Bob Campbell MW

2016 Stone Syrah
"Focus, concentration and power, pepper-spice, wood spice, violets and dark berries, barrel spice and bacon oak, masculine and muscle. There's no mistaking the power and presence of this wine on the palate with youthful energy, backbone of acidity, powerful tannins and core of fruit carrying the structure well, but also showing youth and potential. Lengthy finish with concentration and power. A wine to rival Northern Rhone counterparts. Best drinking 2021 through 2030." 96 points -Cameron Douglas MS
"75 cases made. Dense, restrained and elegant syrah with floral, smoky, black pepper flavours restrained by fine, close-knit tannins that clearly suggest bottle age potential. This is Elephant Hill's top syrah from this coolish vintage. Drink now to 2023" 96 points- Bob Campbell MW


2015 Airavata
"A complex and engaging wine from bouquet to palate the more your swirl, sip and explore the more it offers. Pressed violets and dark raspberry, black currant and plum. Bold tannins and youthful acidity, a hint of tar and boot polish, meat and smoke. No mistaking the impact of oak with a core of fruit and flavour this wine is impressive. Requires cellar time to integrate and develop. Decant and taste again in 2022. A wine destined to last through to 2030+."  98 points- Cameron Douglas MS
"Flagship syrah made from 2/3 Gimblett Gravels and 1/3 Te Awanga grapes. Big, dense and very ripe red that is both elegant and a blockbuster with pepper, plum, berry, coffee and mocha flavours. A concentrated wine that's built to last. Drink now - 2025" 96 points- Bob Campbell MW

2015 Hieronymus
"Youthful, powerful and focused bouquet of Hawkes Bay red wine. The Cabernet is the driving force on the nose with cigar and blackberry fruit, the Franc is unmistakable with olive and sweet leaves, violet and dark berry; the Malbec highlights new oak with bitter chocolate and black cherry note; the Merlot brings everything together with flavours of plum and softness. Other flavours include marmite and barrel spices. A youthful example with big tannins and acidity to match and plenty new oak, complex and lengthy finish. Cellar till at least 2025 before sampling again. This will be a twenty-five year wine. Cellar properly and this wine will reward." 98 points- Cameron Douglas MS
"280 cases made. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and tempranillo. Big, dense red with concentration and power. Layers of berry, dried fruits, spice, cedar and a suggestion of floral characters. A very complex wine with a higher level of dry extract (a measure of flavour concentration) than any wine previously made at Elephant Hill. Drink now – 2030" 97 points- Bob Campbell MW



Apr, 2019

Hawke's Bay Marathon 2019 is less than 2 months away!

Some of you may already know Elephant Hill will be the finish line of 2019 Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon.  But there might be something you don't quite know...

On Friday 17th May (day before the big run!), Elephant Hill will have Pinot & Pasta party!

It's a well-known fact that carb-loading before race day is important and the team at Elephant Hill have the perfect way for you to do so!

Choose between three different time slots on Friday 17 May to spend time enjoying some pasta and a glass of Elephant Hill Pinot Noir - can you think of a better way to prepare for race day?

Date: Friday 17 May

Time slots: 5:30pm / 7:00pm / 8:30pm (each session will be 1.5 hours long)

Price: $40

There will be two types of pasta available as well as gluten free/vegetarian/dairy free options available.

How to book

If you are already entered, log into your My Active account and select 'Additional Purchase'. If you haven't entered already, you can select to purchase when you are entering. Spaces are strictly limited per time slot so book early to avoid missing out!


Mar, 2019

Winter Hours 2019

Public announcement
As of 7th April, we will commence in Winter Hours both in restaurant and cellar door. 
RESTAURANT will stay open for lunch 7 days (12-2:30 pm) and dinner service on Thursday to Saturday (6pm-8:30 pm)
CELLAR DOOR will stay open for 7 days. 
Sunday to Friday 11 am -4 pm 
Saturday 11 am - 5 pm

Please don't hesitate to contact our cellar door on +648726073 or restaurant on +6468726060 for any booking enquiries.

Mar, 2019

Champion Viognier- Royal Easter Show 2019


Our 2018 Sea Viognier won the Champion Viognier at last Saturday night's Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2019. 

Huge congratulations to our viticulture and winery teams! The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards have been running for 66 years and is New Zealand's oldest wine competition. 

About 2018 Sea Viognier
The Southern Pacific Ocean neighbouring our Te Awanga Estate vineyard is the inspiration for the growing of our 'Sea' wines. 
In 2017- 2018 growing season, Elephant Hill vineyards experienced a warm spring, followed by hot summer resulted in a superior set and ripening of our Sea Viognier at Te Awanga. This effect was seen with early flavour development at relatively low brix levels, resulting in a relatively early picking date. In 2018 we split our small block of Viognier into different management areas, based on relative differences in vigour. This allows very precise management of differences within the block and allows hand picking of differing maturity levels if we wish. Accordingly, we picked our Sea Viognier on three different dates according to the differences in flavour development.

Winemaking notes
Whole bunch pressed, 60% barrel fermented which added body and texture to the wine. The remaining 40% was fermented in stainless steel tanks bringing freshness to the wine. Cooling sea breezes, shingle soils and delicate winemaking underlie the elegance and purity we strive for this Viognier. 

Enjoy now or cellar to 2022.


Mar, 2019

Latest review from Sam Kim, Wine Orbit


2016 Le Phant Rouge- 5 stars, 93 points
A gorgeous blend of Merlot, Syrah and Malbec, the inviting bouquet shows blackcurrant, plum, vanilla, cedar and mixed spice aromas, followed by a succulent palate that is plump and silky. The wine offers excellent weight and fruit intensity, leading to a lingering smooth finish. It is rich and flavoursome with plenty of attractive flavours. At its best: now to 2024.

2016 Reserve Cab Franc Cab Merlot- 5 stars, 95 points
This is impressively ripe and wonderfully expressed on the nose showing blackcurrant, mixed berry compote, vanilla, mint chocolate and cedar characters, leading to a concentrated palate that is fleshy and velvety. The wine offers terrific fruit power and richness, brilliantly structured by fine, chalky tannins. At its best: now to 2026.

2016 Reserve Syrah- 5 stars, 96 points

It is compelling and immensely appealing; the seductive bouquet shows black/blueberry, Black Doris plum, cocoa, warm spice and cedar characters. The palate is powerful and sumptuous with layers of rich texture and delectable flavours, backed by seamlessly woven silky tannins. A stunning expression offering loads of appeal.At its best: now to 2030.

2017 Chardonnay *yet to be released*- 5 stars, 94 points
Beautifully fruited and elegantly expressed, the bouquet shows ripe stone fruit, rockmelon, nougat and cedar characters. The palate delivers excellent weight and generous mouthfeel, wonderfully supported by creamy texture and bright acidity, leading to a lengthy refined finish. At its best: now to 2022. 


Feb, 2019

Elephant Hill named Winery of the Year runner-up

December 7 2018 

New Zealand Wine writer Raymond Chan published his Raymond Chan Wine Reviews website on 'Winery of the Year 2018'.  Elephant Hill is humbled to be runner-up for 'Winery of the Year 2018'. 

According to Raymond Chan, "The ‘Winery of the Year’ award is my way of recognising the best performing wine producer who has submitted wines to Raymond Chan Wine Reviews for independent assessment in ‘Feature Reviews’ over the year. The criteria for the award are based on the qualities and significance of the wines in terms of excellence as seen in my descriptions and ratings, as well as how the wines have appealed to me on a subjective and hedonistic level as a wine enthusiast and consumer. In addition, the award can take into account innovation and style, and the progress the producer has made in making fine New Zealand wine, as well as the setting of standards for this country’s industry". 

"Elephant Hill’s icon 2014 Hieronymous Blended Red scored a perfect 20.0/20, and this was followed very closely by the 2014 Airavata Syrah and 2016 Salomé Chardonnay. The new ‘Earth’, ‘Stones’ and ‘Sea’ range sitting above the already outstanding ‘Reserve’ wines just adds further depth to Elephant Hill’s portfolio." said Raymond Chan.

Raymond Chan also selected 25 wines to be the TOP WINES OF 2018 and Elephant Hill's 2016 Salomé Chardonnay (scored 19.5+/20) and 2014 Hieronymus (scored 20/20) were both featured on the list.  

To read the full 'Winery of the Year 2018' article, click here
To see our full accolades list, click here


For further information, please contact:
Kalos Chan, Marketing and Communication Executive, Elephant Hill
Tel: +64 6 872 6066


Dec, 2018

We turnt 10!

Can you believe Elephant Hill is turning 10 this month?! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, whether you purchased wine from us, dine with us for a special occasion or been in for a tasting. In this very special time of the year, we want to share 10 fun facts of Elephant Hill which we get asked quite often. Let's see if you know all of them!

1. Where does the name 'Elephant Hill' come from? Our founder Roger Weiss was inspired by the elephants while travelling with Reydan in Myanmar and he decided to name the winery and restaurant Elephant Hill.

2. Do you have a sweet wine? Yes, we do! It's called Rania. Roger and Reydan named the sweet wine after their daughter's name: Rania - because a sweet wine deserves a sweet girl's name! We released the first vintage of this sweet wine for Rania's 25th birthday in 2009.

3. Why is the winery building in teal colour? It resembles the colour of the sky and the Pacific Ocean on a sunny afternoon.

4. How old is Maggie the winery dog? 3

5. How many permeant staff? We started off with only 6 staff in 2008 but we currently have approximately 40 staff.

6. How many staff have been here since 2008? 6

7. What does Airavata mean? The name stems from the mythological white elephant who carries the Hindu god Indra, also called "elephant of the clouds" or "the fighting elephant"

8. Has anyone ever jumped in the green pool next to the restaurant? Yes, a few years ago. Sorry, it's NOT a swimming pool!

9. Which wine is the top-seller? Syrah!

10. How much does Elephant Hill produce? Around 20,000- 22,000 cases per year.

Nov, 2018

Best Winery Restaurant 2018


It was released on Monday night 15th October that our restaurant has been awarded 'Best Winery Restaurant' and 2 hats at this year's Cuisine Good Food Guide Awards. We are truly humbled to have received both awards. Many of you "liked" and "shared" our great news on Facebook and Instagram, thank you so much for your ongoing support.

The annual Cuisine Good Food Guide Awards brings together New Zealand’s best chefs, restaurateurs and hospitality powerhouses for one night each year to celebrate excellence within New Zealand’s hospitality industry.

It has been an amazing decade being part of the New Zealand wine, hospitality and tourism scene and we take great pride and care to deliver world-class dining experience. Our head chef Ashley Jones, restaurant manager Suraj G.C and the team of Elephant Hill look forward to greeting you at Elephant Hill in the near future!

To read Cuisine's full review, please click here.
*We advise all customers to book online to avoid disappointment. 


Oct, 2018