THE LANDING AT TI POINT IS A WELL-WORN TIMBER WHARF. Across the narrow channel is the holiday enclave of Omaha, forty minutes north of Auckland. The Omaha spit encloses the inlets and bays of Whangateau harbour. Whangateau, like most of Matakana, is part upscale, new and expensive and part backwater, with rusting iron and peeling paint.
Over the hill from the wharf is the Ti Point Vineyard, where you may find up to four generations of Haslam women among the vines. Tracy Haslam is both the winemaker and the inspiration for planting vines. Soil and climate here are very similar to the best of Bordeaux, so having a love for Bordeaux wines made it easy to decide what to do with their tiny piece of family land on the Ti Point peninsula.
The flagship wine is Ti Point One. The first vintage was in 2004. It is supple, sexy and multi-layered, designed to develop over time. Grapes are now also sourced from Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, extending Ti Point's range of wines beyond its own tiny, beautifully located vineyard.
IT'S HARD WORK AND ALL DONE BY HAND, but the vineyard at Ti Point is often tended by Tracy, her mother and grandmother, with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren being passed from hip to hip. These women relish the company of good friends and conversation, and the wines are designed for preparing and sharing food and entertaining.
The location, energy and spirit of Ti Point required a perfect, elemental symbol. And it took all of two minutes to draw. But another four days to explore other avenues and options, before finally recognising it as the one - a kind of boundary post, or pou rahui, standing on the headland...
WINE VARIETIES: MERLOT AND CABERNET FRANC BLENDS, SAUVIGNON BLANC, CHARDONNAY, VIOGNIER, PINOT GRIS, SYRAH AND ROSÉ.
Thanks to Ti Point Wines for source material.
Vineyard and surrounding images: Ti Point Wines; Richard Brimmer; Mark Adams.
Bottle images: Ti Point Wines.
Sound track: Audiojungle.
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