Elephant Hill – 10th anniversary vintage release celebration
Elephant Hill had a strong reputation for Syrah since its early days. I was sent a bottle of their Reserve Syrah 2018 to celebrate their 10th-anniversary vintage release since the official opening on the 21st November 2008; that day also marked the 65th birthday of the late Roger Weiss, founder of Elephant Hill.
Elephant Hill now has vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels, Bridge Pa Triangle and Te Awanga, where Syrah grow in all three locations and has become a signature variety of Elephant Hill.
The Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah 2018 comprises 48% Gimblett Gravels, 40% Bridge Pa, 12 % Te Awanga. Gimblett Gravels component gives the wine firm, bony tannin structure and longevity. Bridge Pa fruit provides plush fruit and weight on the mid-palate, and Te Awanga fruit contributes lively acidity. The wine spent 24 months in barrels which 35% were new French oak, showing incredible multilayered complexity and age-worthiness, demonstrated the advantage of blending the subregions masterfully.
This wine was made by their first winemaker since 2007, Steve Skinner, who developed their style and reputation as one of the top Hawke's Bay wine producers in a relatively short period of time. Hugh Crichton, who did the same at Vidal Estate for 16 years, was appointed head winemaker at Elephant back in May 2021. I look forward to seeing Hugh's mark on Elephant Hill.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah 2018, Hawke’s BaySyrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 28-Sep-2021Deep ruby-red with a black hue, lighter on edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegant, with power, gently filling the glass with aromas of black plums, blackberries, melded with an amalgam of spices, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise, unfolding cedar and meaty nuances. Full-bodied, aromas of black plums and blackberries have depth and concentration, interweave liquorice roots, violets, and spices, followed by cedar, dark earthy minerals and meaty notes. The wine is rich and complex with dark details of fruit, spice and earth; mid-palate is creamy and bright, supported by balanced, lively acidity. A firm and minerally, fine-grained tannin extraction lends an opulent mouthfeel, provides vitality and, lingers with roasted coffee to a lengthy, satisfying finish. This complex and powerful Syrah shows dark fruit, spices and earth with depth and continually unfolding finer details. Match with venison with a rich sauce and roasted lamb over the next 10-15 years. 100% Syrah fruit sourced from Gimblett Gravels (48%), Bridge Pa (40%) and Te Awanga (12%), fermented to 13.5% alc, aged 24 months in barrel, 35% new oak. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $49.95