TRINITY HILL HOMAGE 18
Homage is Trinity Hill’s top red and was first made in 2002 from 100% Syrah grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay. It was inspired when its founder, winemaker John Hancock, visited Gerard Jaboulet in Tain l’Hermitage in the northern Rhone Valley, France and met Gerard Jaboulet and his father Louis, who produced the great wine, Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle – one of the great reds of the first half of the 20th Century. It’s still one of the northern Rhone’s great reds but is not always considered the absolute pinnacle these days, despite its illustrious history and its evocative name – after a small stone chapel supposedly built as a retreat for a 13th century knight loved the hill of Hermitage above the Rhône.
Back in New Zealand, Hancock was so inspired that he returned to the Rhone to work the 1996 harvest at Jaboulet, an experience which cemented his own passion for northern Rhone Syrah styles. This was further cemented when Gerard Jaboulet sent him three clones of Syrah and one of Viognier as a gift from the Hermitage appellation. Gerard passed away in 1997 at the age of 55 but Hancock had those vine cuttings quarantined and propagated so that he was able to plant them in 2002, alongside Trinity Hill Winery’s first Syrah vines, which were planted in 1995 with cuttings from the neighbouring Stonecroft vineyard.
Long story short, the first small production Syrah was produced at Trinity Hill in 1997 and has since grown so that the winery produces three different Syrahs, of which Homage is the king.