There isn’t a lot of Syrah in New Zealand. But it’s a grape that does very well here, when it is grown. I’ve had great examples from Waiheke Island, Martinborough, Marlborough and even Central Otago.
The Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay is probably the most famous locale in Kiwiland for Syrah. Here are three good examples: two very forward and drinkable, the third a little more serious.
Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2010 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Beautifully aromatic nose is floral with violet, pepper and sweet cherry and plum fruit, with a hint of roast meat. The palate is ripe but fresh with nice texture and good spiciness. Vivid, juicy and focused with a hint of clove. Bright, quite elegant and quite serious. 94/100
Crossroas Winemakers Collection Syrah Elms Vineyard 2010 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Powerful, rich, dense and spicy with notes of tar, violets, clove and black cherry. Ripe and sweet but also lively and complex. Good acidity and a spicy finish. 92/100
Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2010 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Sweet, creamy nose showing vanilla and spice, presumably from the oak, as well as floral cherry and plum fruit with a hint of clove. The palate is ripe and sweet with cherries, plums and smooth texture. Seductive and open, with nice spiciness and a bit of grip. On day 2 it is less showy and a bit more serious. Some ginger and cinnamon notes, too. 91/100