Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah 2020
“Syrah is fast becoming a key variety for Hawkes Bay and New Zealand, producing distinctive, complex and aromatic wines of exceptional quality that are achieving international acclaim. At the 2018 Global Syrah Masters, Drinks business UK identified Hawke’s Bay as one of the top four Syrah regions in the world. This is a fragrant, supple and full-bodied example that exudes dark berry fruit, lifted floral and spice aromas, and a powerful palate structure that will reward cellaring.”
Chris Scott, Chief Winemaker
95pts, Cameron Douglas, The Shout NZ May 2022
A core of dark plum and red and black berry fruits are overlaid with classic Hawkes Bay Syrah floral perfume and exotic warm spice. There are also darker liquorice, mineral and earth notes that bring a serious brooding undertone, while subtle oak brings extra complexity and texture, imparting notes of vanilla, roasted cacao and a hint of smoke. On the palate the wine is medium-full bodied with an impression of sweet fruit and long finish driven by silky tannins and gentle acidity. Well matched to a wide range of full flavoured game and red meat dishes.
Redstone Vineyard (56%): Situated in the renowned Bridge Pa Triangle Winegrowing District, this area is also low lying, relatively sheltered and warm, making this our earliest ripening site, perfect for the cultivation of later ripening varieties. The soils here are known as red metals, formed by a 10,000 year old, free draining, alluvial greywacke gravel riverbed since covered by a shallow layer of wind-blown loess and iron rich volcanic ash that is responsible for the distinctive rust coloured staining of the stones. This site typically produces ripe, supple and very aromatic wine with an amalgam of red and black fruit and lifted floral fragrance.
Wai-iti Vineyard (18%): Slightly south of Redstone and also located in the Bridge Pa Triangle, this vineyard is more exposed and therefore later ripening. It produces slightly more elegant wines, bring fragrance and freshness to the blend.
The Gimblett Vineyard (26%): An area of very free draining alluvial gravels, this soil type is some of the lowest vigour, lowest nutrient soil in Hawkes Bay, restricting vine growth and water uptake and resulting in meagre crops of intensely flavoured fruit. The area is only 30m above sea level, and far enough inland to be relatively well protected from the sea breeze, the vineyard is also sheltered from the cold southerly by Roys Hill, making this one of the warmest areas in Hawke’s Bay ideally suited to red winegrowing. This vineyard tends to produce wines with a core of dark fruit and a firm tannin structure that brings length and drive to the blend..
The fruit was selectively harvested across an automated sorting table to remove any green material before being crushed to fermenters. Fermentation was allowed to peak at 34 deg C ensuring good extraction of colour and ripe tannin. The wines were allowed to undergo post fermentation maceration for a total time on skins of between three and four weeks. This maceration period brings greater richness and texture to the palate and helps to integrate and balance the tannins in the wines. This is further aided by regular aeration, which also stabilises colour and opens up fruit aromatics, downplaying leafier herbal notes and allowing the aromatic floral and spice aromas to shine. We taste daily to determine the amount of aeration and to determine the optimum time to drain and press. The wine was then filled to French oak barriques (27% new) to complete malolactic fermentation and subsequent maturation for 17 months, with the first six months barrel maturation on lees to help further build palate texture. The blend was racked for clarity and to avoid any unnecessary stripping effect, was bottled without any subsequent fining or filtration.
Alcohol 14.2% by volume
Varietal, toasty, dark fruited, spicy and broody, youthful, complex and engaging. Delicious, and wonderfully expressive on the palate with textures from fruit and wood, flavours of dark raspberry and roasted plum, black currant and dry gravel soil qualities. Lengthy, complex, with a core of fruit and dark spices of wood. Best drinking from 2023 through 2033+.