Full into winter, Cuisine magazine has released the timely results of their N.Z. Syrah and Australian Shiraz tastings in the July 2011, Issue No. 147. N.Z. Syrah got the big thumbs-up as of the 66 wines entered, 25 were awarded four stars or more, and for the first time, a full ‘Top 10′ could be published due to the depth of quality of the wines. “Syrah may be the most exciting thing ever to happen in New Zealand wine, said Melbourne-based judge Ralph Kyte-Powell. Cuisine’s writer John Saker suggests “now is the time to get acquainted with…..the country’s rising red star”, with Tony Bish, winemaker and judge reckoning that “New Zealand Syrah came of age in the 2009 vintage”.
Syrah has certainly gained a lot of media recognition of late, and that despite the small amount planted in the country. This signal adds to the weight of the argument that more should be grown and made. As Cuisine says. “New Zealand syrah’s svelte personality makes it an engaging, flexible food partner…”. It is well-known now the variety is enjoyable in a very wide range of styles, whether in the lighter cooler expressions to the fuller, riper examples. Other varieties are less tolerated when showing such a range.
For the record, the five star wines are: Sacred Hill ‘HALO’ Syrah 2009, Arrow Junction Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009, Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009, Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009 and Clearview Estate ‘Reserve’ Syrah 2009.
Tasting the Australian Shiraz wines, it was noted the styles of Shiraz were changing ever so slightly towards elegance. The popularity of the Aussie Shiraz style showing “plenty of ripeness, generous flavour, good depth and body, and lovely comforting warmth” making the “perfect winter-weight red wines” is still there, but it was suggested that Aussie winemakers are noticing and respecting the fruit definition seen in Kiwi styles of Syrah.
The ‘Top 5′ Aussie Shiraz wines, all five star rated are: Rosemount ‘District Release’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008, Thorn-Clarke ‘Shotfire’ Barossa Shiraz 2009, Yalumba Eden Valley Shiraz/Viognier 2008, Shingleback ‘D Block Reserve’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006 and Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008.
Also of note in this issue of Cuisine are the 50 finalists for Restaurant of the Year. As usual, there is plenty of good reading…