Vintage for top Hawke’s Bay Syrah close to perfect
Media Release 20 June 2008
Vintage for top Hawke’s Bay Syrah
close to perfection
Of all the Hawke’s Bay reds, Syrah is arguably the hottest and 2006 in the Bay fulfilled all the criteria to reinforce that view, according to the latest Cuisine wine tasting.
Of the 64 wines tasted in the magazine’s annual New Zealand Syrah tasting, all but one of the four- and five-star ratings came from Hawke’s Bay, confirming the region as the country’s Syrah HQ. The one exception came from an unexpected quarter, Central Otago newcomer Aurora Vineyard in Bendigo.
Topping the tasting was Church Road’s Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006, reflecting “as close to a perfect vintage for Syrah as you could get”, said chief winemaker Chris Scott. Judges praised the “perfect florals and gorgeous texture” of this Sultan of Syrahs and its “Hermitage-like qualities” – fruit density and lively interplay of cassis, pepper and plum characters.
Two other big-name labels scooped second and third in the Top Five with five-star awards. The rich, ripe Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006 nudged into third place Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2006, a “superstar Syrah” filling a large canvas with panache, power and varietal purity.
Just a whisker behind were two other 2006 beauties that narrowly missed five-star status – Newton Forrest Estate Syrah and best buy Vidal Hawke’s Bay Syrah at $26-28.
Swimming against the Pinot Noir tide in Central Otago, The Aurora Vineyard Bendigo Syrah 2006 made its mark, gaining four stars in its first Cuisine tasting. Against the odds, winemaker Carol Bunn impressed the panel with her wine’s “stylistic Frenchness, oozing red and black sweet berryfruit charm”.
And the four-star best buys, Corbans Private Bin Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2005 ($21.95) and Moana Park Vineyard Selection Syrah 2007 ($20) should suit those with an eye for a bargain.
Crossing the Tasman, the Cuisine panel also reviewed 113 Australian wines, a tasting that revealed a new, cultured side to big, boisterous Shiraz. Melbourne judge Ralph Kyte-Powell praised the trend towards the finesse of more harmonious, friendly styles. And given the Kiwi love affair with homegrown Syrah, New Zealanders should take time to seek out the harder-to-find, Euro-style Aussie wines competing in the same league here, he said.
Claiming some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines, the Barossa Valley is also home to Cuisine’s top Shiraz, the five-star Grant Burge Filsell 2005. Following in the footsteps of last year’s award-winning 2004 vintage, it’s the “epitome of top-quality Barossa Shiraz”, Ralph said.
The July issue
of Cuisine is on sale from Monday 23 June.
1 Church Road Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006 (five stars)
2 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006 (five stars)
3 Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2006 (five stars)
4= Newton Forrest Estate Syrah 2006 (high four-star rating)
4= Vidal Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006 (high four-star rating)
Vidal Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2006 $26-$28 (high four-star rating)
Corbans Private Bin Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2005 $21.95 (four stars)
Moana Park Vineyard Selection Syrah 2007 $20 (four stars)
1 Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2005 (five stars)
2 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz 2005 (five stars)
3 Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2006 (five stars)
4 Serafino Shiraz 2005 (five stars)
5 Trentham Estate Heathcote Shiraz 2005 (five stars)
Serafino Shiraz 2005 $25 (five stars)
Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2006 $20-$22 (five stars)
Pepperjack Shiraz 2006 $19-$22 (high four-star rating)
Zilzie Selection 23 Shiraz 2006 $14.99-$15.99 (high four-star rating)
Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz $15.95 (four stars)