Featured Reviews

Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

31 October,2018

The Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ Syrah is the company’s flagship wine. Its beginnings hark back to Trinity Hill’s founding winemaker meeting the Jaboulet family in the Rhone Valley in 1981. John returned to work harvest there in 1996 strengthening his friendship with Gerard Jaboulet, and becoming more intimate with ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage, Jaboulet’s top wine. Gerard sent to John at Trinity Hill three clones of Syrah and a Viognier clone as a gift. Gerard passed away in 1997 at the age of 55, and he became the inspiration for the creation of the Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ with a traceable lineage back to the collection of vines brought into the country by James Busby in 1832. Trinity Hill’s first batch of Syrah was in 1995. The Jaboulet cuttings were propagated and planted in 2002. Fruit from these vine sources now make up the Trinity Hill ‘Homage’. The first Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ Syrah was the 2002 vintage, followed by the 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The 2016 is the tenth release. It is now regarded as one of New Zealand’s great wines and is highly regarded around the world.

When I visited the Hawke’s Bay region in April earlier this year, Trinity Hill winemakers Warren Gibson and Damian Fischer with marketing manager Cara Gittings gave me a preview tasting of the ‘Homage’ 2016. The wine was superb to my taste, and I rated it 19.5/20 (click here to see my report). The wine has since been offered ‘en primeur’, but it is available for general purchase as of start of November. I have conducted my ‘Feature Review’ of the wine here. Since I tasted it, the wine shows a harmony and multi-faceted aromatic nature that has led me to increase my score to 20.0/20 points. This is not the most striking ‘Homage’ made, but its dimension and harmony make it a great one. www.trinityhill.com


Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and voluminous with a very deep and finely with concentrated core with an array of aromatics, showing beautifully ripened blackberry fruit entwined with dark raspberries, harmoniously layered with an array of dark-red and violet florals, together with exotic Asian spice elements, nuances of dark herbs, and a suggestion of black pepper. This has an amazing range of fragrances and aromatics that are expressed without showiness, but plenty of style and harmony. Medium-bodied, the palate is mouthfilling with refined, plush and sweetly rich, ripe and succulent fruit flavours of blackberries and dark raspberries, hints of plums and liquorice , unfolding layers of dark-red and violet florals with exotic spices. This is multi-dimensional and multi-faceted in expression. The fruit is supported by the very finest powdery tannins, but with considerable extract, structure and presence, but is is no way overbearing. The acidity is harmoniously integrated, and the wine carries to a sustained finish of richness. This is a beautifully harmonious and multi-dimensional and complex detailed Syrah of great beauty, finesse and fragrance. Match with the best lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 10-15 years. 100% Syrah, predominantly MS clone from 20 y.o. vines in the Gimblett Gravels with the inclusion of a small amount of new clone material from hillside plantings behind the winery on Roys Hill (officially not part of the Gimblett Gravels). Fruit all hand-picked, foot-stomped and fermented with 30% whole bunches on average (some lots 100%), adding Viognier skins to 13.0% alc., the wine spending on average 30 days on skins, and aged 15 months in predominantly new French oak barriques and a portion in 5,000 L oak ovals. 20.0/20 Oct 2018 RRP $140.00

Dark, deep ruby-red colour with black hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is refined and elegant with beautiful proportion showing blackberry fruit along with liquorice and spices, unfolding voluminous perfumes of violet florals. This is so seamless and yet enveloping. Medium-full bodied, the fruit richness on palate is the feature, with sweet and succulent black fruits, liquorice and spices, along with fragrant violet and fine herb nuances. The level of detailing is impressive. The fruit has a very concentrated core, with excellent structure from flowery tannin extraction to match the fruitiness. The mouthfeel is vibrant and energetic with a harmonious vitality. Ripe plum and liquorice elements emerge on the long and sustained finish. Not a blockbuster by any means, but a wine of completeness, fragrance, richness and subtle interwoven componentry that results in harmony. This will live 15+ years by way of its finesse, richness and balance. 19.5/20 April 2018 RRP $TBA

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