2014 Elephant Hill Hawke's Bay Syrah

SKU #1297208 94 points Sam Kim

 Following the fabulous 2013 rendition, this is another gratifying syrah with awesome fruit purity and richness. Fragrant aromas of dark plum, blueberry, floral, cedar and white pepper lead to a succulent palate that is concentrated and richly textured. The wine shows wonderful fruit intensity as well as refinement, and promises to develop beautifully. At its best: 2016 to 2024.

92-93 points Raymond Chan

 Very dark black-red colour with purple hues, near impenetrable. This has a firm nose of blackberry fruit with notes of black pepper intermingling with currant nuances and whole bunch stalk complexities. Dark herbs and mineral emerge along with a suggestion of funky reduction. Medium-full bodied, the palate is firm and concentrated with good depth and rounded density and a sweetly ripe fruit core of luscious black fruits. This shows an integrated array with blackberry, black pepper and subtle spice elements. The oaking and whole cluster components are well-integrated, and the palate reveals subtle game nuances. The tannin extraction and fresh acidity lend energy and liveliness and lead to a long, lingering finish with powdery tannins. This is a firm and concentrated, sweetly ripe Syrah with aromatic whole cluster complexities. Serve with Middle Eastern lamb dishes and slow-cooked meats over the next 6-8 years. Syrah fruit from 40% ‘Gimblett’, 40% ‘Triangle’ and 20% ‘Te Awanga’, co-fermented with 1% Viognier to 13.5% alc. with 20% whole bunches, the wine aged 14 months in 30-35% new oak.

92 points Bob Campbell

 A blend of grapes from Elephant Hill's Gimblett Gravels and cooler coastal Te Awanga vineyards. Rich, dense, grainy-textured Syrah with plum, dark berry, chocolate, black pepper, liquorice and spicy oak flavours. Approachable now but should age well.

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is a terrific American debut for this winery, which blends Syrah from the Gimblett Gravels and Te Awanga subregions. It's full-bodied and richly textured, with bold blueberry and raspberry fruit combining seamlessly with savory notes of black olive and marinated beef. Drink now-2025. (JC)  (7/2016)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Stylish, dark and brooding, with black walnut liqueur, espresso and smoky teriyaki accents adding complexity to the cherry, raspberry and blueberry flavors. The long, expressive finish is peppery and velvety. Drink now through 2026. (MW, Web-2016)

Jancis Robinson

 Pure, juicy blackberry fruit - super succulence and a lovely twist of black pepper. Soft palate, timid tannins that could be bolder, but the acidity is spot on. Dark aniseed and liquorice character to finish - while the fruit is ripe, the finish is very savoury. Great stuff. (RH)  (10/2016)

K&L Notes

Winery Notes: "The wine is made with Syrah from our Gimblett Gravels, Triangle and Te Awanga Vineyards. The Syrah is a combination of Mass Selection, Chave and 470 clone. Grapes are hand picked. The fruit is then fermented in open top oak cuves with a small amount of whole cluster; hand plunged, on the skins for between 14-21 days. The wine was then matured in French oak (30% new) for 12 months." Pure Gold at 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards - Double Gold at China Wine and Spirits Awards.

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Price: $19.99

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Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/19/2017 | Send Email
Here is a super complex yet elegant Syrah that sells for a song. This has spicy blue and black fruits along with hints of red meat, pepper, iron and traces of iodine. Despite the warm and generous mid-palate the long finish is sweet, clean and crisp showing more traces of iron and pepper.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/28/2017 | Send Email
This wine is a game changer. Once you try this, you will think of New Zealand, Hawkes Bay in particular, when you hear Syrah. The combination of climate and soils create a unique expression of this classic varietal. Dark fruit and bright berries, cracked pepper, a savory element on the finish and enough acidity to focus all of the previous elements. Dark, bright, rich and savory, what more can you ask for from Syrah? Oh yeah, it is only $20, try to find a Syrah with that much character for that price from anywhere else in this world!

Staff Image By: Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/18/2017 | Send Email
Notes of blackberry, violet, plum, white pepper and smoked meat are followed by silken texture and balancing acidity. An inviting Syrah that has depth, complexity and elegance all at a reasonable price point. Grill and chill with this full bodied gem from Elephant Hill.

Staff Image By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/17/2017 | Send Email
This vintage of the Elephant Hill Syrah is blend of 3 vineyards from around Hawke's Bay. This combo really helps to give the wine a great sense of balance with elements from all 3 vineyards and a true expression of the appellation. This Syrah has meaty notes that are balanced with stunning purity of fruit. Spice and structure from the small percent whole cluster shine through and the fruit is weighty and dense without being overly ripe or flabby. A killer red from a very highly regarded NZ producer, this wine showcases why Hawke's Bay has the stellar reputation it does from producing stunning Syrahs.

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/14/2017 | Send Email
Back in early 2011 I visited Elephant Hill for the first time and was simply amazed by the quality of the Syrah they produced. The 2009 release I was tasting at the time was a revelation to me and cemented my suspicions that Hawke's Bay could, without exception, produce some of the best Syrah on the planet. 2014 was a warm vintage by New Zealand standards which is good news for varietals like Syrah when they're planted in a traditionally cool climate region. This wine strikes a perfect balance between traditional northern Rhone type characters of violets, spice, smoked meat and earth; combining them with a more modern purity of fruit, polished texture and brightness. Any review of this wine would be remiss without a mention of the wine's deliciously "umami" cracked black peppercorn notes. The consistent presence of this fresh ground pepper character is something that I believe sets Hawke's Bay Syrah apart and makes it truly unique. This is an exceptional wine, from a great vintage, direct from the winery at a ridiculously low price point.
Top Value! Drink from 2017 to 2027

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/12/2017 | Send Email
This Hawkes Bay Syrah from Elephant Hill was the red wine standout of our New Zealand staff tasting. If you love the classic Syrahs of the Northern Rhone, you owe it to yourself to try this beauty. It has a classic nose that explodes with white pepper, and medium to full body with excellent texture. Minty, eucalyptus like flavors last and last with good tannin and excellent acidity on the finish. Perfect for leg of lamb now, or the cellar for later!
Drink from 2017 to 2024

Staff Image By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/11/2017 | Send Email
The Elephant Hill wines from Hawke's Bay have long been a staff favorite, but I think in this 2014 Syrah, the winery has reached new heights of greatness. This is honest, clean and classic in style, but with nice depth and intensity. Stylistically, this reminds me of some of the better northern Rhone wines, with strong black pepper spice, medium body and elegant red berry fruit. Yet there is a generosity and openness here that makes the wine eminently drinkable and delicious without having to stash in the cellar for years. Easily one of our best Syrah values in the store!

Additional Information:



- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5