Southern syrahs shine

My first tasting after an overseas break, with Messrs Collins and McLaren champing at the bit to join me. A line-up of 2016 New Zealand syrah beckoned, covering the gamut of price points, and offering some seriously interesting drinking.

The majority of Kiwi syrah is grown in the North Island, so it was a pleasure to have two South Island examples in today's flight, and they both rose to the occasion and held their heads high.

2016 Te Whare Ra S.V 5182 Marlborough Syrah
Rating: Excellent

Really attractive nose mixing fragrance, red/blue fruits and pepper with savoury, meaty, bloody elements. Youthfully bright palate, juicy, fleshy, and oozing slurpability, backed by refreshing acidity, a schisty, stony underlay and a minty/menthol-like note. 

A cool as wellwater feel to this, already drinking very nicely.



2016 Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Ghost Town Bendigo Syrah
Price: $55
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Smoky, savoury nose, a sweetly floral aspect rises, adding berry compote. Richness to the meaty/savoury nuanced palate that adds tilled earth and spice; the powerfully sweet dark fruits moving into the blackberry and raspberry spectrum, a little blueberry backdrop too. Lovely depth and fine tannins frame a wine that grows in the glass.

Drinking very well now.



2016 Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah
Price: $24.99
Rating: Very good to excellent

Charry, dusty notes lead, the sweet fruit growing in the glass. Youthful brashness on a medium-bodied frame, with the tannins still a little chewy. A little sweet and sour interplay before the wine opens up, building appealing fruit on the mid-palate, yet retaining that salivatory aspect.

Clearly very young, some time over summer should help this round out nicely.



2016 Trinity Hill Hommage Syrah
Price: $140
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Alluring nose that draws you in: some wildness, funk, earth and chocolate with almost violetty florals, black olive with time. Rich and supple entry, dark fruits and graphite, the tannins neatly framing the wine with lovely acid balance and freshness. Not a blockbuster, but complex and elegant with a sweet fruit lift to the long finish.

Loads of appeal and time on its side.



2016 Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah
Price: $49.95
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Salami, blood, dustiness and oak scents building an attractive florality in the glass, a whisper of mint/menthol with time. Fulsome and rich, real depth to the flavours while remaining bright, zesty and fresh, showing excellent complexity.

This grows delightfully with aeration, adding a piquant spiciness. Lots on offer here.



2016 Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah
Price: $74.99
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Dustiness, wild herbs, darker fruits and a delightful fragrance that builds as it opens up. Savoury elements flood the mid-palate: for all its depth and latent power there’s a deft hand at work here, as it remains light on its feet, with that fruit core underpinning the wine.

Great length, classy, and a study in elegance.

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