Wild-card Syrah sweetens the season

I was delighted to receive the Gimblett Gravels Selection to review, as were my two tasting colleagues Messers Collins and McLaren.

Marlborough sav blanc and Central pinot are already well known internationally, there is a sense that Gimblett Gravels syrah might just garner similar recognition.

While only the seventh-most planted grape in the country, with less than 10% of the acreage of pinot noir, syrah is punching well above its weight and gaining traction overseas. Tasting this selection, I can see why.



2014 Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah
Rating: Outstanding

Blueberry, fruit conserve, white pepper and oak nuances, a touch brooding. Plum, spice and blackberry on the palate developing savoury notes, cocoa/dark chocolate, licorice and a whisper of mint. A powerful, young, big boy of a wine at first with notable richness: the intrinsic balance showing its stuff with time. A delight now, even better with time.




2014 Vidal Reserve Syrah
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Alluring perfume with red fruits, red licorice, currants and a fleeting toffee note. Medium weight, spicy and chewy and with real lift and brightness to the fruit adding redcurrant and darker fruits to the core with real freshness. Concentration yet on a fine frame, building in weight and creaminess. Juicily delicious.




2014 William Murdoch Syrah
Rating: Excellent

Ripe fruits, black pepper and berry coulis. Powerful, mouth-puckering tannins at first, settle as the plum, blueberry and forest floor notes flood in. A diamond in the rough, a hint wild, a little less polished, a touch rustic but with bags of character. This closes on pencil shavings, umami notes and chewy tannins. Very moreish.




2014 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah
Price: $35
Rating: Very good to excellent

Subtle nose with black pepper, mixed red and dark berries and forest floor/humus notes. Tightly wound and closed at first but opens up to notes of plum, blueberry, dark fruits and tilled earth with pencil shavings on the finish. Nice texture and chewy tannins. Some nice elements here for the future but a little closed today.




2014 Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah
Price: $60
Rating: Excellent

An air of approachability to the fragrantly alluring nose. Refreshing, juicy, medium weight and with a lipsmacking quality to the palate. Nicely balanced, fine tannins and already rather drinkable with its bright lift on the close but the building tannins and increasing weight suggest plenty more in the tank. Crunchy and appealing.




2014 Squawking Magpie Stoned Crow Gimblett Gravels Syrah
Price: $49.95
Rating: Excellent

Darker and brooding nose. Licorice, raspberry, savoury salami like notes with a sweet fruit core. Powerful tannins at first, which settle nicely showing lovely balance. The sweet fruit core runs through the wine as an earthy note builds. Fine, elegant and quite approachable already, yet with potential too.









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