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Featured Reviews

Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Rosé 2017, Crofters Syrah 2016 and Serine Syrah 2015

27 October,2017
By planting vines on Mere Road in 1983 and producing wines from 1987 under the Stonecroft label, Dr Alan Limmer became one of the pioneers of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay. His other significant contribution was the propagation of Syrah vines from cuttings from the Te Kauwhata Research Station. Stonecroft has the oldest Syrah vines in the country and from them, the ‘MS’ clone has become the most widely planted and successful in terms of quality wine. Demot McCollum and Andria Monin took ownership of Stonecroft in 2010 and have made improvements in branding and the ranging of the portfolio, and importantly gaining AsureQuality organic certification from 2013. In that year, they also purchased an established vineyard, sited on Mere Road to expand their holdings, which they call the ‘Fernhill’ vineyard. The quality of the top wines remain as high as they have ever been. Here I review three new wines, the 2017 Rosé, 2016 ‘Crofters’ Syrah and 2015 ‘Serine’ Syrah.


Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright strawberry-pink colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim, with purple tints. The nose is fresh with an elegantly firm, vinous core, showing delicate watermelon and cranberry fruit aromas and subtle, mouthwatering earthy and mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has thirst-quenching flavours of watermelon and subtle notes of cranberries, and hints of red florals and earthy minerals. The palate possesses finem crisp acidity and light phenolic textures which carry the wine, unfolding more florals, with confectionary nuances. The wine carries lingering, aromatic, dry finish. This is a crisp, dry rosé with flavours of watermelon, cranberries, earthy minerals and lifted florals on a light-textured, mouthwatering palate. Serve with antipasto over the next 2 years. Hand-picked Syrah fruit from the ‘Fernhill’ vineyard, given a short period of skin contact and fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine aged 4 months on lees. Certified AsureQuality organic. 150 cases made. 16.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $22.00

Stonecroft ‘Crofters’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Dark, deep, purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with youthful purple hues. The nose is full with deep aromas of ripe blackberry and dark raspberry fruit harmoniously entwined with black pepper notes, and nuances of spice, unfolding violet florals and a little reduction. This has considerable fragrance. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich and juicy fruit flavours of blackberries and raspberries, along with violet florals, melded with black pepper, and hints of dark herbs, earth and spice. The mouthfeel is bright and vibrant with fresh acidity enlivening the palate, and soft, supple tannin extraction. The wine has an elegant core and line that carries to a lingering, fresh finish of dark raspberries, herbs and pepper. This is a bright and lively, vibrant fruited Syrah with flavours of dark raspberries and blackberries, on a fresh, supple-textured palate. Match with barbecued fare, and lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones MS, 470, 174 and Chave, from the ‘Fernhill’ vineyard, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged in barrel and tank. Certified AsureQuality organic. 17.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $22.00

Stonecroft ‘Serine’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with purple hues on the edge. The nose is full, deep and concentrated with aromas of ripe blackberry fruit melded with dark raspberry and blueberry notes, along with black pepper, and funky game and iron-earth nuances. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweetly ripe fruit flavours of blackberries and dark raspberries with notes of black pepper and earth, and a layering of complex, funky game. The palate has a deep and well-packed heart, with fine-grained tannin extraction and structure in support. The acidity is balanced and integrated. The wine carries positively, leading to a soft, full-flavoured finish. This is a fulsome, well-packed, rich, black-fruited Syrah with black pepper, earth and funky game flavours on a fine, well-structured palate. Match with slow-cooked game meat and casseroles over the next 6+ years. Named after the ‘Serine’ clone which was surmised to be that of the oldest estate Syrah vines, but not confirmed as such. Fruit from the ‘Mere Road’ and ‘Roy’s Hill’ vineyards, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 35% new French oak barriques. Certified AsureQuality organic. 400 cases made. 18.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $31.00
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