Te Mata Estate Syrah Syrah
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Notes by TomComing out of the fantastic 2013 vintage this Syrah shows how New Zealand is fast becoming a top producer of the variety. The balance between forest fruit flavours, spicy notes, soft tannins and fresh acidity make it an easy one to enjoy. This wine has a little Viognier added at the fermentation stage, something traditionally done in Syrah’s home of the Rhone Valley. This gives the wine a floral element. It’s hard to pick out the variety itself in the wine but you can rest assured it has boosted the overall flavour of the wine and added just another dimension to enjoy. This is a wine that is drinking well now but will continue to improve over the course of this decade so enjoy the wine over summer and then maybe think about a case for the cellar!
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Producer Description View Te Mata's website h
One of the few wine Estates in New Zealand with over 100 years of history to its name. Te Mata has been producing some of New Zealand’s best wines for a sustained period of time lead by its iconic “Coleraine” Bordeaux Blend. The line-up now includes a number of varieties mainly from Bordeaux (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot & Sauvignon) and the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Viognier) and a little Gamay Noir from the south of Burgundy to keep it interesting! Situtated in the Hawkes Bay the Estate continues to prove why it is seen as one of the elite regions in the world for Bordeaux and Rhone style wines.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz in Australia, is a variety that has seen a surge in plantings across the world in the 21st Century. The variety is best known in the Rhone Valley. In the North it is varietal or blended with a touch of Viognier (yes, the white wine) in wines such as Hermitage & Cote Rotie. In the south it makes up one of the components of the blend (usually second fiddle to Grenache). The wine has distinctly savoury, edgy characteristics of tobacco, liquorice, leather, chocolate and the like, making it great for matching with barbecued meats and heavier dishes. Australia has taken the variety to its heart, renamed it Shiraz and it is now the most grown variety in the country. The Australian Shiraz' have become popular around the world with Penfolds & Henschke 'Hill of Grace' coming from some of the oldest vines in the country, being over a century old.
This is the second largest wine region in New Zealand behind the behemoth Marlborough. With just over 5,000 hectares planted it has around a quarter of what Marlborough has to offer.
Hawkes Bay has established a reputation for it’s red Bordeaux blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Along with the Bordeaux blends Syrah (famous in the Rhone Valley and known as ‘Shiraz” in Australia) is becoming popular. Across the region the range of soil types varies widely from the gravelly shingles of the riverbanks to limestone, clay based soils. They all give different characters to the wines with the riverbank gravels finding the most quality.
Being situated along the East Coast of the North Island the ‘Bay’ benefits from the long sunshine hours, ripening these varieties which can struggle to achieve full ripeness in other parts of the country.
New Zealand wines have become all the rage over the past two decades led primarily by the Sauvignon Blanc craze. Gone are the days of Muller Thurgau dominating as New Zealand’s most popular variety. In it’s place there are now over 20,000 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc planted in New Zealand. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bordeaux and Rhone Blends are of high quality also but pale in volume comparison to that of Sauvignon Blanc.
The country is known for it’s cool climate wines which stand out with clean fruit flavours and fresh bursts of acidity. The NZ wine industry has a lot to thank the dairy industry for as it’s use of stainless steel tanks and refrigeration technology has been adapted to winemaking and created superb results, accentuating the wine characteristics mentioned above.