Kiwi syrah is consolidating its position as a go-to for high quality and great value, writes Ralph Kyte-Powell.
NEW ZEALAND SYRAH continues to evolve. Once a curiosity, now it’s becoming mainstream, presenting a real choice for Kiwi wine consumers looking for a tasty alternative to a normal diet of pinot noir, Aussie shiraz, or reds in the merlot/cabernet family. As also seen in our evaluation of Bordeaux blends in this issue, Hawke’s Bay has further consolidated its position as New Zealand’s prime source of great syrah in this tasting.
Of 20 wines scored at four stars and higher, all but one were from Hawke’s Bay, the other wine championing Waiheke Island as a source of top syrah. Vintage conditions are also an important factor in the quality equation, with the majority of wines currently in the marketplace reflecting the impact of three successive excellent vintages in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The evolution of NZ syrah isn’t centred only on quality in the bottle; value for money is getting better all the time too.
No wine illustrates the value factor better than the top wine of this Cuisine syrah tasting. At $25, Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015 makes a great introduction to Hawke’s Bay syrah, and all our Best Buys from this tasting send the same message – Kiwi syrah should be on the shopping lists of all wine lovers.
Villa Maria’s mastery of Hawke’s Bay syrah finds fine expression in this Cellar Selection wine, and its pricing makes it a bargain. Ideal for a beef stir-fry, it has deep colour and an array of delectable aromas that run through raspberries, blueberries, florals and fennel with a hint of vanillin oak. It’s ripely fruity with good flesh and a generous nature, underpinned by poised drying tannins.
A complex, concentrated syrah from the 112 -year-old Vidal winery. It has …2
A glass-staining, deeply coloured young syrah, Church Road’s 2015 Grand Reserve is …3
A youthful, lively syrah that’s still very fresh at four years of …4
Mission Estate’s Hawke’s Bay lineage goes back to 1851, when it was …5
On a hillside beside the sea north of Napier, few New Zealand …5