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Syrah exciting new string to Hawke’s Bay wine bow

11 November 2009

Media release

Syrah exciting new ‘string’ to Hawke’s Bay wine ‘bow’

One of Australia’s leading wine communicators, Huon Hooke believes that Syrah wines are a “very exciting” new string to the Hawke’s Bay wine region’s bow, and one that he believes has great potential with wine consumers.

Here on a two-day wine tasting exploration, Mr Hooke told a group of Hawke’s Bay winemakers that he had tasted some “terrific” local Syrah wines that were very “consumer friendly”. He has also had his appetite whetted for 100 percent Hawke’s Bay Merlot wines and Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Inc. will be sending a selection for him to sample at his leisure in Australia.

Australians were “a bit over big blockbuster reds” that were high in alcohol, he told the group. “There’s real interest in more elegant red wines that are flavoursome, without being high alcohol.”

Mr Hooke praised Hawke’s Bay winemakers, saying that he enjoyed all the wines he tasted for their fruit flavours, balance and structure, and particularly appreciated wines that showed varietal expression.

Mr Hooke has been a wine writer for 26 years and currently writes a weekly column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend magazine, and contributes to Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Wine magazine, plus others. He has published 17 books on wine and co-authored the annual Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide for 14 years. In 2008, he was named Australian Wine Communicator of the Year.

He also has over 22 years of wine judging experience and was one of the international judges for the Air New Zealand Wine awards that are to be announced in Auckland later this month.

Mr Hooke also acknowledged that Hawke’s Bay Chardonnays were better than those of a similar style created in regions of Australia. “I think that Hawke’s Bay is marking time with its Chardonnays. It is not well known for this variety but it needs to lift its profile.”

On tasting a selection of $20 and under wines, Mr Hooke said they were “more complex, savoury and interesting than Australian wines at the same price point.”

He suggested that overall the Hawke’s Bay needed to create excitement and gain kudos for working with new grape varieties and mentioned Trinity Hill’s Tempranillo as an example. He also urged local wine growers to “let your hair down and try new things, new styles.”


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