Radburnd Cellars Syrah 2018

My first try of this Syrah, made from a couple of vineyard sites in Hawke’s Bay by NZ Wine Hall-of-Famer and all-round New Zealand wine legend, Kate Radburnd. Now focussing on making simply the best wine she can, in her own way, with no compromise. There are only a handful, at most, of wines that stop me in my tracks in any given year; and this hand-made wine is the first Syrah of this rather remarkable year to truly do that, so far…

Deep, dark and purple-hued, and with effusive aromas of plum, blackcurrant and warm spices, Already approachable, it somehow manages to be both full and open, and yet possessed of a tautness and tension. Richly varietal, showing a dense core of damson, blueberry, roast tamarillo and anise flavours, plus a sniff of white pepper. 

A fine balance of weight and agility and concentration continues, building across the mid palate; held on a spine of supple tannins, and framed with the nutty nuance of well-integrated oak. A silken texture is there, as it builds to a lengthy, sweet and gently spicy finish.

Quite confounding, complex and utterly delicious; it shows a craftsman at the height of their game. Destined, I predict, for a slew of accolades – I’m really pleased to have found this wine on the recent flying visit to Hawke’s Bay. It shows what this region can do, in the right hands, with a considered touch, the right fruit from exceptional vineyards, coaxed into a truly world-class wine. This style of Syrah could be a our next big thing.

One final note on this Syrah, and it doesn’t relate to what goes in your glass. The packaging for this ‘product’ is as considered and beautifully honed as the wine inside. A die-cut nest that lies inside a box so understatedly beautiful it looks like Steve Jobs himself designed it, the ‘product’ is a like a Chanel-meets-Apple-meets Hawkes’ Bay masterclass. I’m not sure how many of these bottles exist, and the RRP is $85… but I’d seriously recommend buying a couple of these – one for your next significant occasion; and one to put away for a few years to do that magical ageing thing we don’t really understand. You can come back later (I’ll be here) and comment on the bottom of this review to thank me if you like – but you’ll definitely be thanking yourself for it. I know.
97pts. A new pinnacle for Hawke’s Bay Syrah?

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