Wine of the week: a bafflingly sublime syrah from New Zealand
No other wine from this challenging vintage comes close to this syrah, says Matthew Jukes – it shines out like a beacon
Every year the good people of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association send me a mixed case of 12 bottles of their latest new releases. This is the tenth year in which they, along with Andrew Caillard MW, have undertaken this elite exercise and this time it was the 2017 wines under the microscope. Clearly this vintage was a very challenging one in this uniquely fascinating region. While most of the wines looked rather taut and tough, albeit with rather slender frames, one bottle shone like a beacon and I am happy to say that it might just be my favourite vintage ever of this famous label.
The 2017 Homage is a sensational wine, garnering a mighty 19/20 score in my notes and it arrives in the UK this week. No other wine came close to this mark and yet who’d have thought this possible if you digest this wine’s vital statistics? This is a 96% syrah, 4% viognier skins, partial whole bunch, 100% new oak, 12.5% alcohol conundrum and it is bafflingly sublime. Winemakers Warren Gibson and Damian Fischer have turned what could have been a disaster into a work of sheer beauty. “Homage” pays tribute to the late Gérard Jaboulet, who passed away at only 55 years of age back in 1997. I am sure that the man behind the iconic Syrah Hermitage La Chapelle would be bowled over by this extraordinary Trinity Hill creation and would be honoured by the tribute.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)