Seven Syrahs

A few days ago I wrote about a blind tasting of South African Syrah. These are the other Syrahs we tasted blind, alongside the South Africans. There was no logic to the choices: it’s just what we brought along. I was really impressed by all these wines: when Syrah is good, it’s such an interesting […]

South African Syrah: blind tasting nine of the best

Chris Groenewald was in town, bringing nine South African Syrahs with him. So a crowd of us gathered over lunch at The Drapers Arms to taste and drink. These are my notes, mostly written blind. It was a great set of wines.

Scions of Sinai Syrah 2017 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh, with just 12.5% alcohol, but I […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (9) Trinity Hill's Homage Syrah

Trinity Hill planted their first Syrah in the Gimblett Gravels in 1995, using cuttings from Stonecroft, a clone known as Mass Selection. The first vintage was 1997. The current releases also include some vines grown from cuttings that came from Jaboulet in the Northern Rhône. The first version of prestige cuvéeHomage was made in 2002, […]

Cape Wine (5) more highlights, including Craven, Alheit, Savage, Testalonga, JH Meyer

Some more stunners from Cape Wine.

Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2017 Devon Valley, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. From a heavy clay outcrop: the clay gives some black fruit bass end even at low potential alcohol. Peppery and supple with black cherry and black pepper on the nose. Nice purity and elegance with amazing texture, purity and […]

Hervé Souhaut Syrah 2016: seductive, smashable

I’ve been an admirer of the wines of Hervé Souhaut for a while. I remember taking his Syrah as one of my three wines when I was taking part in the Swartland Revolution in 2011, and it went down really well. I also recently reviewed his Gamay, La Souteronne, here. He’s based in the northern […]

Interesting Marlborough: Fromm, single-vineyard pioneers

Fromm is an important winery for Marlborough, because they were one of the first to champion single vineyards in the region. They are also unusual in that in a white wine-dominated area, their focus is on reds. But they have had to cave into export demand by making a Sauvignon that’s fairly typically Marlborough in […]

Novum, an exciting new producer from Marlborough

Will Hoare, Novum

Scratch below the surface and there’s lots of interesting stuff going on in Marlborough. Here’s an example. Will and Rachel Hoare have just launched their new label, Novum, which focuses on Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made from interesting sites in Marlborough. Will was previously general manager at Fromm, but he was […]

A couple from Hawke's Bay: Craggy Range and Sacred Hill

These impressed the other evening.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is beautifully fresh and focused with sweet blackcurrant fruit together with some black cherries and plums. There’s lovely balance: it’s ripe, but really well balanced with good acidity. […]

Koomilya, the 'new Wendouree'

The Koomilya vineyard in McLaren Vale

Komilya is the exciting new vineyard-based project from one of the McLaren Vale’s stars, SC Pannell. I don’t like to hype wines, but this is one of the most exciting discoveries I’ve made in Australia. This is the McLaren Vale’s Wendouree, in terms of style, intention and potential longevity.

Stephen Pannell […]

Quinta do Monte d'Oiro, Lisboa, Portugal

Monte d’Oiro translates as mountain of gold, and it refers to the golden colour taken in early evening by the hill on which many of the vineyards are planted. The vineyard is in the Alenquer sub region, with the Atlantic 20 km to the west and Lisbon 50 km to the south. Climate is Mediterranean […]