2013 Vidal "El Legado" (Legacy Series) Syrah Hawke's Bay (Previously $50)

SKU #1289577 97-98 points Raymond Chan

 Full, very dark, purple-hued black-ruby colour. This has a rich and full nose with blossoming layers of sweetly ripe blackberry and black plum aromas, harmoniously melded with black pepper, Asian spices and violet and black florals, along with integrated spicy, cedary and toasty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate features densely packed and harmoniously entwined, opulent and decadent flavours of ripe blackberry fruits, plums and liquorice, unfolding waves of black pepper, chocolate and cedary oak. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft-textured, quite complete in expression, with seamless, underlying tannins and structure that builds in presence. The sweet fruit and oak flavours prevail and flow effortlessly to a sustained finish with spices, cedar and considerable depth and presence. This is a very rich, decadent and densely packed, complete Syrah with ripe black berr and plum fruits, and layers of spice and cedary flavours. Match with Middle Eastern fare, and lamb, beef and venison over the next 10-12 years. 100% Syrah from the ‘Omahu Gravels’ and ‘Twyford Gravels’ vineyards, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 40% new French oak.

98 points Sam Kim

 This is spectacularly good. Awesome fruit concentration and wonderful purity. Aromas of black/blueberry, cherry, clove, nutmeg and a whiff of white pepper on the nose. It is concentrated and powerful, yet refined and perfectly poised for gradual development. An astonishing rendition of the variety. At its best: 2018 to 2033.

96 points Bob Campbell

 Slick, classy Syrah, with dense plum and dark berry flavours plus a suggestion of floral violets, pepper, anise and spicy oak. Well-structured wine, with tannins smothered by dense and silken fruit that leads to a drying finish.

96 points Decanter

 Slick, classy Syrah with a seamless, silky texture and typical varietal flavours of plum and dark berry, violet notes, star anise and spicy French oak.

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 El Legado Syrah offers up notes of crushed black berries and blueberries with pepper and spice nuances, plus an herbal lift. It fills the medium-bodied palate with vibrant black berry flavors plus spicy compliments, supported by grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long. 90+ Points (LPB)  (12/2016)

Jancis Robinson

 Dark crimson. Ripe and savoury at the same time. Some sweetness, as though fashioned from candied leather. Round and ripe.  (10/2015)

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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.