The OLD BRIDGE
The OLD BRIDGE Wine Shop
At every price level, an outstanding selection of wines chosen by John Hoskins MW
SERIOUS, DRY REDS
484. 2014 SYRAH, Vidal. Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
"I was struck by the value offered by Vidal Reserve Syrah 2014 Gimblett Gravels. It can be found for a relative song in New Zealand – even if it costs rather more by the time it reaches export markets (and much, much more in China for some reason).
Vidal is one of four brands now controlled by the large independent wine company Villa Maria, one of New Zealand's biggest, the other wine labels being Esk Valley, Villa Maria and, since 2012 when they acquired this superior estate, Te Awa.
The group has several sites in Gimblett Gravels – indeed 40% of all grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels goes into wines produced by the Villa Maria group – but each brand has its own vineyard blocks. The sites vary in how much silt loam is above the gravel, with the siltier vineyards giving more perfume and the gravelly ones resulting in the more tannic wines.
The Vidal winemaker is Hugh Crichton and he believes that 2014 was an 'outstanding' vintage for his Syrah – more so than the highly regarded 2013. He is apparently so fully wedded to the fortunes of Vidal that he goes off selling to export markets himself. Overseeing the entire Villa Maria group's North Island range from a winemaking point of view is Nick Picone, who took over from Alastair Maling MW in 2015.
This Vidal wine was grown on the Omahu Gravels vineyard where the vines - clones MS, Pask and Waldron - are 16 to 18 years old. In 2014 the grapes were picked at 23 Brix, earlier than usual, on 4 and 5 April. Natural acid levels were quite high enough so no acidification was needed. Total maceration time was almost five weeks and then the young wine was kept, unsulphured as is the current fashion, in barriques (20% new, the rest up to six years old) for a total of 15 months with just one racking and a light egg-white fining.
I much enjoyed its sweet, vibrant, leathery nose with some balsam and lots of savour and interest. The tannins seemed carefully worked and subordinate to the appetising New World Syrah fruit that, while satisfyingly ripe, is not at all confected or forced. The wine is just 13.5% alcohol and is an admirably serious wine (not to be confused with the more ambitious, expensive and long-term barrel selection known as Vidal Legacy Syrah 2014)."
This wine does not qualify for a discount
10% discount on Un-Mixed Cases.