We would never say ‘forget the flowers’ but there are more ways than one to a girl’s or a guy's heart. Homage is the one of the best ways to say you're serious about Syrah and your loved one. It's also one of the best presents for wine lovers at Christmas or any time of the year.
Homage is the flagship wine of Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay, where I was lucky enough to spend an evening celebrating the new 2016 vintage of this wine, which will begin to trickle into retail over the next few months.
While we enjoyed the youthful new vintage of 2016 Homage, we also toasted the announcement that production will double from 2018. It was a warm, dry and plentiful year and vineyard investment over the past decade is finally paying dividends in fruit quality, says winemaker Warren Gibson.
The announcement was made by Philip Kingston, CEO Of Trinity Hill Wines, who said that while production would increase significantly, overall volumes were still destined to remain small. Not only that, Homage would continue to be an allocated wine.
The trigger for a doubling in production was two-fold. Grape quality from 2018 was outstanding and more grapes were now available, due to growth in quality in the vineyard.
The last 10 years of vineyard investment are now starting to pay off, so it's possible to increase production.
Fine tuning Homage
One of the biggest changes to Homage was made in 2010 with the introduction of whole bunches to the ferment and a deliberate reduction of new oak in the winemaking.
Gibson says whole bunches change the texture of tannins and how dense the wine feels in the mouth but the percentage used will always be a response to vintage. In a cool year, for example, the use of whole bunches would be minimal.
The reduction in new oak was all about shining the spotlight on ripe fruit flavours, drawing attention drinker away from wood.
It's all about fine tuning the winemaking, allowing the fruit flavours to come forward and deaccentuating oak influence.
“We have intentionally decreased the proportion of new oak in the wine over the last eight to ten years and are happy with the result,” says Gibson.
The first vintage of Homage was made in 2002.
Current vintage of Homage
The current vintage of Homage in store at Regional is 2015 Trinity Hill Homage $114.99.
PS: The wine is not made every year. When a vintage was not considered up to scratch, the grapes destined for Homage find their way into the winery's lower priced Syrahs. Ah, so that's why Trinity Hill Syrah is so good.