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Featured Reviews




Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ 2016 and 2015 Syrah

08 February,2018

The Northland region presents its own challenges to grapegrowing, with humidity and disease pressures a significant factor on the health of the fruit. Strong viticultural practices are required to ensure that quality will be retained for good wine. Selected grape varieties have proven their ability to work in the region. At Eric and Sandra Shackleton’s ‘Waitapu Estate’ in Kaitaia, Pinotage and Syrah have become the flagship varieties and wine. I recently reviewed the 2016 and 2015 Waitapu ‘Reef View’ Pinotages (click here to see). The variety produces distinctive wines with savoury mulberry fruit and a unique lifted character. The wines are intriguing and have a place in providing diversity. The flavours and style of Syrah are more recognisable among wine drinkers, and this has resulted in this variety growing in repute for the Northland region. I believe it will become the premier red there. Here, I review the 2016 and 2015 Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View Syrahs from the Shackleton’s 2.5 ha vineyard. The wines are made at the nearby Karikari Estate. They reflect the relative strengths of each vintage, as did the Pinotage wines I reviewed. This is the third time I’ve seen the 2015, and it appears to be improving with time. www.waitapuestate.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

15.5/20

Even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose has lifted and aromatic blackberry and dark raspberry fruit along with black and white pepper, dark herbs and black mineral notes unfolding funky, savoury, cedary elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has lively fruit flavours black and dark-red berry fruit, along with red florals and herbs, and savoury pepper and game notes lending some funkiness. The fruit is enlivened by slippery acidity and supported by light, fine-grained tannin extraction. The wine flows with good energy to a savoury, slightly sour, red fruited finish. This is an elegant Syrah with fresh berryfruit and peppery flavours and savoury, sour funky cedar and game notes on a slippery, supple palate. Serve with tapas and Mediterranean fare over the next 2-3 years. Syrah fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak. 15.5/20 Feb 2018 RRP $28.95

Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17/20

Full, dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is initially a little shy, but possesses well packed and solidly concentrated aromas of blackberry fruit along with a harmonious amalgam of game, black pepper and minerals. The aromatics grow in depth with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has concentrated and intense flavours of ripe blackberry fruit intermingling with black pepper and mineral elements. Some dark herb and earthy detail adds interest. The fruit forms a firm core with moderately fine-grained tannin extraction and has balanced acidity. The flavours carry along a fine line, leading to a lingering, light finish. This is a well-concentrated Syrah with blackberry, black pepper and mineral flavours on a finely extracted palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 4+ years. Syrah fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in seasoned French oak. 17.0/20 Feb 2018 RRP $28.95

Dark ruby-red colour with black hues at heart and some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and densely packed with aromas of ripe, savoury blackberry fruit melded with earthy notes unfolding some black pepper and spices, with nuances of funky game. Medium-full bodied, the palate has up-front, rich and sweet, lively fruit flavours of blackberries with spices, earth and black pepper notes, revealing game hints. The fruit is softly concentrated with good depth, and is supported by light, supple tannins and light, acid liveliness. The palate has linearity, and carries to a juicy finish of blackberries, pepper and earth. This is a softly packed Syrah with fulsome and rich flavours of savoury blackberry fruit with notes of spice, black pepper and game, and supple grip. Match with barbecued and roasted game meat, and casseroles over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 2-3 y.o. French oak barrels. 16.0+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $28.95

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is soft and full with aromas of gentle aromas of black-berried fruits along with savoury raspberries, liquorice and spices and black pepper elements, unfolding nuances of chocolate and earth. Medium-bodied, the palate has a bright and lively mouthfeel with fresh, gentle flavours of black fruits, raspberries, plums and liquorice. Spice and black pepper nuances unfold to add interest. The fruit is enlivened by lacy acidity and supported by modest, grainy tannin extraction lending a soft-textured mouthfeel. The flavours carry with good drive and energy to a lingering, brisk finish of blackberries, spices and pepper. This is a fresh, lively, blackberry, plum and liquorice flavoured Syrah with some tannin grip and brisk acidity. Match with barbecued fare over the next 3 years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 2-3 y.o. French oak barrels. 16.0/20 Nov 2016 RRP $28.95
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