Six New Zealand Syrahs

Crossroads Syrah 2008, Hawkes Bay (£13.50 Mentzendorff)
Has a fragrant, peppery roasted aroma, along with fresh blackcurrant, plum and raspberry fruit, but could use a little more body to live up to that fragrance. B

Vidal Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2008, Hawkes Bay (£10.99 Waitrose, Halifax Wine Co, Trina’s Wines,
Not quite as fragrant and peppery, but there’s fresher, more lively, bouncy black fruit, and an earthy, tar-like edge to the finish. A combination of the fragrance of the Crossroads with the fruit here would work well. B+

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2008, Hawkes Bay (£17.99 Waitrose)
Classy wine with a haunting violet aroma, herby peppery dark fruit and  a rich roasted character. Confident and fleshy, with structure to match, but never too brawny. Lovely gentle, balanced finish too. S

Esk Valley Syrah 2007, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (£12.99 Laytons, Irvine Robertson, Peckhams, Trina’s Wines, The Leamington Wine Co.,
Showing some leathery maturity alongside the peppery/roasted edges, but while the dark berry fruit is pleasant, it’s let down by a slightly confected vanilla character. B-

Vidal Syrah 2007, Hawkes Bay (£10.99 possibly still in some Waitrose)
Gentle and juicy, more confident than the Esk, and without the vanilla, but while there’s still the earthy black fruit character of the 2008, this feels like its just losing freshness. B

Villa Maria Private Bin Syrah 2005, Hawkes Bay (£9.99 Wine Rack, Rhythm & Booze, Earls Court Wines, James Wallace Wines)
Surprisingly fruity for a five-year-old, with blueberry, blackberry and black cherry flavours, and lots of pepper/spice character, but it’s let down by a slightly charmless, hard, almost fizzy edge. C+

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