Syrah is most famous for centuries of great red wines made on the hot slopes of the cool northern Rhone Valley, France. Its future here in New Zealand is significantly more recent with the first Syrah grapes planted in 1990, most famously by Alan Limmer but another winery also planted Syrah that same year in Hawke's Bay. Who was it?
Que Syrah Syrah
So, which winery was the second to plant Syrah in New Zealand's second biggest wine region?
It's not a trick question. The answer is Te Mata Estate, our winery of the month for March. This innovative producer is most closely associated with commanding wines made from classic Bordeaux and Burgundian grape varieties, which make New Zealand luminaries such as Coleraine, Awatea and Elston. It has also forged a reputation of enormous respect for its Bullnose Syrah, made from a blend of grapes grown on two sites, including the iron rich soils of the Bullnose Vineyard.
Where is Bullnose Vineyard?
This well known vineyard is planted on the red iron soils of the Bridge Pa Wine Triangle district, an area respected for the aromatic character of grapes grown on those soils. The Bullnose Syrah is a Hawke’s Bay classic which evolves over years from a deeply coloured, supply Syrah into a silky expression of this great grape. The name Bullnose as bestowed on both the vineyard and the wine by vineyard owners, Michael Morris and Peter Cowley, who are both vintage car lovers.
Syrah is one of the world's greatest red grape varieties and Te Mata Estate has one of the longest histories of producing it in this country. Not only with Bullnose but also for Te Mata Estate Syrah, an approachable, if lighter bodied expression of this great red grape variety, which offers superb value for money.
Pop in store to learn more or buy both wines online here...
Happy Syrah drinking.
Buy Te Mata Bullnose Syrah here
Buy Te Mata Syrah here
* Te Mata Estate also pioneered Viognier in Hawke's Bay in 1994 and Gamay Noir; the grape of Beaujolais but that's another story.