2013 Trinity Hill "Gimblett Gravels" Syrah Hawke's Bay (Black Label) (Elsewhere $30)

SKU #1250479 96-97 points Raymond Chan

 Very dark, deep, purple-red colour. The nose is near decadent in richness, with well-ripened black berry fruit. I see plums, hints of boysenberries and black pepper. Black and violet florals lift the aromatics. Nuances of oak spice and complex savoury hints add detail. The palate features the very ripe fruit. Is this verging on showing some over-ripe notes? If so, it works extremely well, as there are still lovely perfumes. The extraction and structure are more a feature on the palate than last showing. The tannins are very fine-grained and powdery. Great depth, concentration and density, but with a degree of accessibility still. This will keep a decade easily.

95 points Bob Campbell

 Very impressive Syrah with good ripeness and density. An elegant rather than blockbuster style with dark berry, leather, wood smoke and black pepper flavours. Firmly structured wine that’s best with food although it will mellow and gain greater complexity with bottle age.  (4/2015)

95 points Sam Kim

 A compelling rendition of the variety, the wine shows wonderful fruit purity and rich mouthfeel. Fabulous notes of black/blueberry, dark plum, floral and subtle spice lead to a powerful palate that offers velvety mouthfeel and lush fruit intensity. It is youthful yet instantly appealing with loads meltingly delicious flavours. At its best: 2016 to 2025.

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 **Editors' Choice** Blind, you could be forgiven for thinking this is the winery's flagship, Homage Syrah. An intoxicating nose of baking spices, blueberries and boysenberries leads to a palate with ample weight and plush tannins. It's complex, earthy and spicy, but with a beam of lively, just-ripe fruit from start to long-lived finish. Drink this stunning value through 2023. (JC)  (3/2016)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 Syrah in a perfumed, otherworldly mode, this is tense and tannic with red and green spice, heady and potent. Youthfully aggressive, this needs a year or two in the cellar to mellow.  (10/2015)

17 points Jancis Robinson

 Up to 30% stems. Co-fermented with 2% Viognier. Succulent and peppery - beautifully accurate, yet not a mere ‘technical’ wine – loads of vivacious refreshment on the palate, great length, a touch of oak. Very pliant tannins (this soft texture is perhaps the main distinction from Northern Rhône Syrah), loads of length. (17+) (RH)  (9/2014)

K&L Notes

If I was taking a blind tasting exam this is the wine I would love to find in the lineup. In all my years of tasting and the tens of thousands of wines that have found their way across my palate, none have been more distinctive than great Syrah from Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. On my first trip to NZ, fresh out of college, I was immediately taken a back and equally smitten by the Syrah being produced here. The unique combination of deep, dark, inky fruit, toasted spices and the distinctive note of fresh ground black pepper is almost unmistakable to me (or at least I'd like to think so!) The Syrah from this tiny sub-region in one of NZ's warmer grape growing areas are very quickly obtaining global acclaim to the point where winemakers are pulling out Bordeaux varietals to plant the often maligned varietal Syrah. The Wine Enthusiast just published an article entitled "A New Breed of Syrah" declaring Hawke's Bay "Syrah's stronghold" and described this wine as "intoxicating", "Complex" and "a stunning value" - 93 points. Add to the equation that 2013 has been described as the "vintage of a lifetime" in Hawke's Bay was flawless weather conditions and perfect fruit. Then consider that Trinity Hill's founding winemaker Warren Gibson is one of most experience and respected men in the business and you can see why we are so head-over-heels for this wine. (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L NZ Wine Buyer)

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- 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.