You can’t take anything away from Warren Gibson and Lorraine Leheny being awarded first and second place in the N.Z. Syrah tasting in the latest Cuisine magazine, Issue No. 153, July 2012. The Bilancia label and its big ‘La Collina’ sibling have a fabulous track record, and Warren has had a major hand in the superb Trinity Hill ‘Gimblett Gravels’ and ‘Homage’ Syrahs too. The result for Warren and Lorraine is truly well-deserved.
However, looking through the list of the best rated wines, one can’t help but feel that most of the top names are missing, and that the numbers of top wines recognised is only a portion of what could be there. Where are the stars? Having just attended the Hot Red Hawke’s Bay 2012 Wine Expo, and recently returning from Waiheke Island, I know that there are far many more top examples of Syrah. There are some wonderful Syrah wines from the likes of C J Pask, Craggy Range, Elephant Hill, Esk Valley, Mills Reef, Sacred Hill, Te Mata, and Trinity Hill from Hawke’s Bay. And from Waiheke Island the likes of Hay Paddock, Man O’ War, Mudbrick, Obsidian and Passage Rock. Yet these do not show on the top rated list in Cuisine.
Syrah is arguably the most exciting emerging variety in this country. The magazine says 69 N.Z. Syrah wines were tasted, with only 14 wines being awarded 4 Stars or better. Unfortunately, that says it all. The number of wineries entering was not as high as it could have been to make the results more comprehensive. The issue is that entry is voluntary, so the question that Cuisine magazine must ask is: “How do we attract more wineries to enter their wine into the tastings?” And they must do so to ensure the magazine remains an essential read for wine lovers!
I’d venture to say that most wine interested consumers understand, or at least want to understand the concept of potential and would prefer to also have advice and recommendations for wines with the ability to keep and improve, in addition to those that show and drink well now. Maybe if the Cuisine tastings took this aspect on board, it may be one way to improve the numbers of wines entered into their judgings and make the results more meaningful. www.cuisine.co.nz