jamie goode's wine blog: Two Gimblett Gravel reds

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Gimblett Gravel reds

Tonight's drinking: two red wines, both from the same remarkable patch of land. That'll be New Zealand's Hawkes Bay region, and more specifically the Gimblett Gravels - a relatively recently discovered terroir that makes lovely red wines, both from Syrah and also Bordeaux varieties. These wines aren't the very best that the Gimblett has to offer (Waitrose have a couple of Craggy Range wines - Block 14 and Sophia - that should give you that), but they are affordable and delicious.

Wild Rock Gravel Pit Red Merlot Malbec 2007 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. This is a blend of Merlot and Malbec, with a dash of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc from the Gimblett Gravels. It's fresh and berryish, with a subtle green herbiness and some minerally, gravelly depth. The focused fruit is well supported by grippy, slightly grainy tannins. Ripe but beautifully balanced, this is a mid-weight wine that sort of straddles the new world/old world divide. Nicely savoury. 89/100 (9.99 Waitrose; 11.99 Bon Coeur Fine Wines, General Wine Co, Highbury Vintners)

Vidal Syrah 2007 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Sweet, almost lush blackberry and dark cherry nose with a peppery, slightly medicinal, whisky-like edge to it. The palate combines sweet, ripe dark fruit with a spicy, white pepper kick and some nice grippy structure. It's a bright, fruity good-time Syrah with a hint of seriousness. Still very berryish, and tastes like a very rich Pinot Noir. 88/100 (9.99 Waitrose)

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At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Wild Rock red, which I'm rather fond of, is a tenner at Waitrose BTW.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for that anon - just corrected it - the info I got from Louis Latour (agent) didn't say that, but this is because Waitrose buy direct from Craggy Range.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Hugh Crichton said...

Hi Jamie,

Interesting that you said that the Vidal Syrah tastes like a rich Pinot Noir. Our winemaking philosophy for Syrah is very similar to that of our Pinot Noir -hand plunging, some extended time on lees, amongst other things. We are generally looking to preserve some of the natural delicacy/florality that be found in Syrahs sourced from the Gimblett Gravels. Of course these attributes can combine with some of the dense structire that can be evident from this district. 2007 was a great vintage for the Gimblett Gravels - warm and dry but it is becoming evident that 2009 for reds are another step up in the quality stakes - probably the best for a couple of decades. Time will tell. I should add that this wine is our entry level with Reserve Syrah attaining greater heights and only released in years when standards are meet.

Hugh Crichton
Vidal Winemaker


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