The newest vintage of a stellar New Zealand wine – rightly considered an icon, and a wine with a sterling reputation overseas as well as locally. At $150 a bottle, it has been in the upper echelons of NZ Syrah for a while now, and this is actually the first year that it has been released under a screwcap – although Trinity Hill have been doing trials of bottle under this closure for many many years now – monitoring very carefully it’s performance and taste, of course, over a decade.
I’ll come clean and say that it’s not a wine that grabbed me immediately. Perhaps an issue with a new release of a wine made for the long haul – like a current vintage of this is – is that you’re ideally going to cellar this for 8-10 years and then dive into it as it nears it’s peak. Doing a review of something at the beginning of its release, like this, is that you struggle to do it justice? But you can only critique what’s in the glass in front of you, not 8 years fast forward.
The wine improved, I felt, immensely on decanting – and indeed, from drinking the next day. Tried direct from opening, then after decanting at two hourly intervals, and finally two more glasses the following evening. Like I said – doing it justice!
A deep, vibrant, burgundy in the glass, lighter to cerise at the edges. Refined, and elegant on the nose – aromas of boysenberry, damson, violets with cinnamon and green herbal notes. Medium to full bodied, some tightness but plenty of concentration to the palate. Poised and ripe, with dark fruit flavours melded to a lovely spiciness – cardamom, allspice and white pepper. There’s a layer of mineral here that goes beyond stone, or shell, to a musky, iron red earthiness. Tannins are well integrated, supple and bring just a hint of cedar.
Complex and intriguing – there are elements of whole-bunch here that at first I find green and distracting; but by the second sitting seem to have mellowed and folded deeper into the wine, actually just providing another layer of discovery. A little oxygen definitely suits the wine – bringing out the spice and intensifying the depth of fruit; rounding out the texture. There’s a liquorice, cola and mocha depth to the finish – which as you might expect, is long and sumptuous.
Not a showstopper that blinds you at first look – a wine that definitely deserves and rewards your attention to it. But, isn’t that so often the case with the best things, in life? At first go, I thought I was going for a surprisingly mid-table 94pts, but on day 2 it has definitely hit 96pts.