New Zealand, day 6: Syrah Symposium
A bit of a change. After visiting beautiful vineyards, I've been stuck in a room all day.
I'm still in my pursuit of great value Shiraz/Syrah. Here's a good-un from today's Sainsbury's press tasting.
Here's another great value Shiraz. Not as cheap as the previous recommendations I've made in this mini-series, but well worth the asking price. I really like this wine. As with many Gimblett Gravel reds, it has wonderful freshness allied to ripeness. I'm almost always in the mood to drink wines like this.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah 2007 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
I love this wine, which shows beautiful focus. Fresh, sweet, pure dark cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose with a white pepper edge. The palate is juicy and bright with cherry and berry fruit, as well as some savoury peppery structure. Good acidity too. Sweet and rich in part, but savoury, juicy and fresh. Brilliant. 92/100 (Wine Rack £14.99 but £9.99 if you buy three)
I really, really like Syrah from New Zealand. Most of the good stuff comes from a special patch of ground, the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay, a warm microclimate with special soils.
I worry that sometimes I repeat myself on this blog. One of the themes I might have talked a bit too much about is New Zealand reds, but they're consistently good. I'm especially taken by the reds from the Gimblett Gravels, a unique 'terroir' in the Hawkes Bay region. Detractors say that viticulture in the gravels is essentially hydroponics, but this is the one place in NZ that seems to be able to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon reliably. Tonight's wine is a stylish, fresh, intense Bordeaux-style blend with lovely expressive character from one of the most reliable wineries out there.