Syrah is becoming increasingly popular with New Zealand winegrowers, producers, and also consumers thanks to the country’s relatively cool climate expression of the grape.
New Zealand Syrahs come out particularly good out of the Hawkes Bay area: less powerful and exuberant than their Aussie Shiraz counterparts, yet more pungently flavorsome than the French examples from Northern Rhone for example.
Church Road is positioning itself as one of the leading Syrah producer in New Zealand. One has to admit they have been successful, getting major awards for two out of the three they produce:
- Best New World Red Wine at the Japan Wine Challenge 2015 with your 2013 Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah
- Champion Wine of Show Trophy and Champion Syrah Trophy with the 2013 McDonald Series Syrah at Air New Zealand Awards.
The standard Syrah by Church Road reviewed here is the latest release and represent the entry-level Syrah for the producer. This means it is cheaper than the award-winning Mc Donald Series or Grande Reserve, and will be more widely available.
More affordable and produced in bigger volume than the winery’s 2 other flagship Syrahs? But is it still any good?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
A rather intensely colored, dark red with slight blue hue on the rim. The nose displays intense notes of black pepper, clove, wood ashes, tomato leaf or fresh laurel leaves, and vanilla. Dark berries and cherry aromas are shy, but may be revealed with a few months in the bottle. The tannins are very smooth, just a hint of dryness on the finish giving the wine an enjoyable savoriness. It’s mid-bodied and feels relatively low in alcohol compared to many Syrahs or Shiraz around these days.
Overall: a very fragrant, fruity and spicy Syrah with velvety texture, a dry mouthfeel, and interesting array of aroma complexity.
Not as deep and complex as the Mc Donald Series or the Grand Reserve, this Syrah yet will entirely satisfy the Syrah lovers delivering all the positive attributes NZ Syrah is becoming famous for: fresh red fruit notes, spiciness, dark color, and dense yet smooth tannins.
Drink now and within the next 4-5 years when it will probably develop some gamy and savory notes.
Food pairing: Pair with tasty meats. The certain leafiness and the spiciness of the wine cries for grilled herb-flavored meats.