Que syrah, syrah

I note that a collective of syrah producers recently met in Auckland to discuss promotion and market penetration in New Zealand, enlisting the help of some of our senior masters of wine.

In our local market, syrah faces stiff competition from pinot noir - both are at similar price points - and the juggernaut of Aussie shiraz.

I’m not convinced consumers have totally got  their heads around syrah ... yet.

I am joined in today’s tasting by Messrs Collins and McLaren, and we were dazzled by the quality of this group. In fact, we left vowing to drink more syrah.





2015 Tohu Hawke’s Bay Syrah

Price: $28
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Lovely nose of pepper and spice with wafts of florality. A youthful brashness to the palate after the silky entry, mixed red and dark fruits, hints of crushed leaf and cedar. Vibrant and exuberant with real brightness and energy, becoming nicely supple with aeration. Long, sappy, juicy finish that lingers on and on. More please!



2016 Te Awa Single Estate Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Price: $35
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Beguiling nose, the dark fruits and oak spice finding a counterpoint in the dusty, smoky, gravelly nuances. Fruit richness without straying into over sweetness, completely mouthfilling with a delectable plushness, developing attractive spice and savoury notes over time.  Great balance here and already drinking very well. Yum!



2016 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Price: $40
Rating: Outstanding

Pungent perfume leaps from the glass, blueberry, violets, summer flowers. Rich and with real depth, the dark fruits joined by savoury nuances, porcini mushroom and forest floor, with powerful tannins giving a lip-smacking chewiness, yet the whole retaining a delightful freshness and lightness. Wonderful complexity that draws you back.



2016 Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Price: $35
Rating: Excellent

Bold and sweetly fruited nose, adding cracked pepper, licorice and savoury notes. Powerfully fruited with an initial rush of tannins that begin to soften as the savoury elements build. Tannins and acidity still somewhat prominent in this powerfully youthful wine that will be even better with time. A good splash of air will be a friend to it now.



2016 Trinity Hill Hawke’s Bay Syrah

Price: $23
Rating: Good to excellent

Darker, earthy nose with a touch of smoke and wildness. Red fruited palate, top notes of raspberry and pepper, supple and rounded, developing some smoky nuances. This grows nicely in the glass, developing a zesty tang and shows lovely vitality and freshness. Medium weight and nicely balanced wine that is in the slot to enjoy now.



2015 Mission Estate Jewelstone Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Price: $50
Rating: Outstanding

Powerful nose of tilled earth, humus, crushed leaf and smoke with the sweet (almost liqueur) fruits rushing in. Big, almost brooding palate, the intense darker fruits nicely balanced by the tannic structure, with savoury and warm leather notes developing. For all its heft, it neatly balances power with finesse, retaining an inviting brightness.


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