Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2018  £22.95

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Since its inception in 1993, partners John Hancock, who has been making wine in New Zealand for over 35 years, and Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of The Bleeding Heart and The Don in London, have made Trinity Hill a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is also in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill, of which 47 are in the Gimblett Gravels. The Gimblett Gravels, planted on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, is now a highly sought after sub-region renowned for the quality of its wines. The Trinity Hill wines have an elegance, balance, drinkability and precision of flavour. This estate was one of the first to plant grapes on the Gimblett Gravels in 1993.

This wine is made from estate-grown grapes from the Tin Shed and Gimblett Stones vineyards. The Gimblett Gravels sub-region is known for its deep, free-draining gravel soils in a unique microclimate. Soils were deposited by the Ngaruroro River as it changed course over many thousands of years. Their low fertility and excellent drainage give small crops of grapes with highly concentrated flavours and aromas.

The vintage started with a frost-free spring and proceeded to a warm and relatively dry summer, which led to a very hot January and February. A large amount of rain fell in March (100 millimetres), resulting in an early harvest to avoid damage from humidity.

Grapes were hand-harvested and fermented in separate batches before blending. A range of maceration periods were used to increase complexity. 25% whole bunches were included in the ferments, contributing to freshness, aromatics and structure. A very small percentage of viognier skins were included in some batches, further adding texture. The wine was aged for 14 months in a mixture of new and older French oak 228 litre barriques and 5,000 litre oak ovals. This barrel ageing regime, more typically used in the making of Pinot Noir, includes lees stirring and very minimal racking.

The Syrah has a deep and youthful vibrant crimson colour. Wild raspberry, blueberry, cracked pepper and hints of vanilla bean on the nose. Powerful and balanced ripe tannins give the wine great savoury structure. Oak plays a supporting role; the wine leads with a pure fruit expression. This purity, combined with refreshing natural acidity, make for excellent ageing potential.

94 Points the Real review

Rich, spicy and quite oaky syrah with plum, dark berry, black pepper and liquorice flavours with a backbone of ripe tannins. Accessible now but should develop well with bottle age.

Bob Campbell MW 

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