Syrah the pick of Gimblett Gravels in 2014 vintage

February 13th 2017

The Gimblett Gravels might not be the most dramatic stretch of vineyard but looks aren’t everything: on this former river bed, the seemingly poor, stony land didn’t seem fit to grow anything. Occupied by a quarrying firm, a dragstrip and a rifle range, the Gimblett Road welcomed its first wine grower in 1981 who thought that it might be capable of ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. It was

More than 30 years later, the region’s Annual Vintage Selection (AVS) takes the best 12 reds from the vintage, as selected by Andrew Caillard MW.

The 2014 vintage was a stunner. I remember overheating while waddling about pregnant during the summer and autumn of 2014 in the dry, warm conditions.

Following on from the “vintage of a lifetime” in 2013, New Zealand winemakers were starting to sound like the Bordelais in 2010 when the vintage of a lifetime was followed by another that possibly upstaged the previous harvest.

The AVS is telling in its composition: in 2013, the Bordeaux blends made up the majority but in 2014, it is Syrah’s time to shine. And the small selection of wines in the case is clear evidence that Syrah was superior. So, it might be a vintage of lifetime for Syrah in 2014 but I feel that that is the case for Cabernet Sauvignon in 2013.

And with two more warm, dry seasons in 2015 and 2016, will the best vintage ever claims be repeated?

You can view my tasting notes on the AVS.

The pick of the case was Vidal Reserve Syrah:

Intriguing, piquant and complex nose: think redcurrants, smoky bacon and woody herbs. Light on its feet but it doesn’t lack in the concentration department, showing big is not necessarily better. Attractive, balanced and precise. 93/100.


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