2015 Elephant Hill, Syrah, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand£21.95, Corney & Barrow, 020-7265 2430,CorneyAndBarrow.com
Last week I wrote about the predictability, or otherwise, of New Zealand's most famous vinous export, Marlborough sauvignon blanc. This week I would like to introduce you to a discipline that represents a fraction of 1% of the country's harvest syrah. Of course, Australia is a syrah/shiraz hero-producer and New Zealand will never compete in quantity or absolute quality, but it has a style all of its own, as a result of its climate, and it is a style that the Aussies are increasingly chasing in their own cooler spots, too.
Harking back to the flavours associated with the energetic syrahs from the Northern Rhne, such as Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph, the wines from Hawke's Bay are usually medium-weight (unlike the warmer climate Aussie versions), aromatically invigorating with pepper, herb and lavender notes, and luxuriously slippery and toothsome on the palate. They finish clean and bright unlike the more muscular examples from South Africa and South America, too. Rarely troubling the credit card too much, the best examples shock with their value for money and incredibly accurate flavours.
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My pick is this tremendous wine, which utilises three clones, judicious viticulture, forensic care in the winery and 12 months in French barriques of which 30% is new. It will blow you away with its magical flavours. You are unlikely to forget the name in a hurry.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).
Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.
Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.
He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.
Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’. He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner.
Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy. His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.
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