WBW #17: Red Kiwis – Stonecroft Syrah

Stonecroft Syrah 2003For the 17th version of Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by John at Corkdork, the theme is Red Kiwis. For the wrap-up of all the entries visit his site in a few days. As a huge fan of Rhone Syrahs from Cornas to Cote Rotie, the memory of an excellent 2001 Chapoutier La Sizeranne Hermitage I had for New Year’s dinner definitely influences this note. 2003 Stonecroft Syrah, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand This is a wine that does not want to be confused with a Shiraz (Australian for Syrah). Hawkes Bay is further south than most Shiraz producing areas in neighboring Australia and just as New Zealand Pinot Noirs look towards Burgundy for inspiration, this Syrah is more along the lines of a Rhone wine than an Australian. Stonecroft planted its first Syrah in 1984, the oldest in New Zealand but quite young by French or Australian standards. Eye: I don’t recall ever seeing a Syrah this light in color; it’s a medium purple-ruby. Nose: Moderately aromatic, spicy, smoky black cherry and clove with a little whiff of leather/cumin. It seems like the last part is from a touch of Brett but otherwise the wine is squeaky clean, very similar to the way New Zealand Pinot Noir can be considered a fresh clean style of Burgundy. Palate: The black cherry and clove come through but just as there is little color, there is little flavor intensity, a real letdown considering the promise of its aroma. In a blind taste I wouldn't have guessed this was a Syrah, but perhaps a Cru Beaujolais. Conclusions: I’ve never had this wine before so the weaknesses I found may be due to a less than optimal harvest. I would probably try it again in another vintage. I like the low cropping, hand harvesting and low intervention philosophy of this small family owned winery. For more information about Stonecroft see http://www.stonecroft.co.nz/ Rating: :| ₤14.99 at Oddbins, UK

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