Local syrahs star performers: judge

By Roger Moroney

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Squawking Magpie's Gavin Yortt with the two reds which made the top 12 of the 2014 vintage from Gimblett Gravels.
Squawking Magpie's Gavin Yortt with the two reds which made the top 12 of the 2014 vintage from Gimblett Gravels.

When it came to summing up the 51 red wines submitted to be judged for inclusion as part of the final 12 for the Gimblett Gravels 2014 Annual Vintage Selection, Master of Wine Andrew Calliard's summation was a single word.

"Outstanding," he said.

Based in Sydney, the selector of the "best of the best" Gimblett Gravels red selection for the past seven years, Mr Calliard said it was clear the Bay's 2014 vintage had been exceptional and had created "many wonderful and exemplary wines".

While all varieties were strong he paid special mention to the syrahs, describing them as "star performers" for 2014 reds.

Assisting in the judging process was leading writer and commentator Mike Bennie and he too was left delighted with the results of the 2014 vintage from one of Hawke's Bay's increasingly internationally recognised growing regions.

Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association chairman Gordon Russell also used the word "outstanding" to describe the 2014 vintage.

"This has been very satisfying for our members, especially following the remarkable quality of the 2013 vintage and is testament to our special terroir, along with the skill and dedication of our members."

Of the nine wineries which got the final nod for the selection, from the 16 which entered wines, three of them came up with two - one each in both the Blended Reds Merlot or Cabernet Dominant and Syrah classes .

Craggy Range came through with it's Sophia and Le Sol Syrah, Trinity Hill with The Gimblett and Gimblett Gravels Syrah and Squawking Magpie with the SQM Cabernets Merlot and the Stoned Crow Syrah.

"All the wines were exceptional so to get two we are very pleased," Squawking Magpie owner Gavin Yortt said.

"I knew the 2014 would be a strong vintage after the stellar 2013 and at this stage the 2015s are also looking great."

Blending was under way and bottling was scheduled for September and he was confident of having a very good chance of making that year's Gimblett Gravels Vintage Selection.

Mr Yortt said while the growing season and terroir of the Gimblett Gravels were the ultimate reference, the overall results showed that the hand of the winemaker played no small part in the overall quality of the vintage.

He was quick to acknowledge the "exceptional" wine making skills of Jenny Dobson who also played a part in two other top 12 wines, and the

viticultural team who manage the vineyard producing outstanding grapes.

The limited 2014 Annual Vintage Selection will be sent out to key international wine media and influencers for reviewing.

Finalists:

Blended reds (Merlot or Cabernet dominant)

* Craggy Range Sophia
* Mission Estate Jewelstone Antoine
* Squawking Magpie SQM Cabernets Merlot
* Trinity Hill The Gimblett
* Villa Maria Reserve Merlot

Syrah

* Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah
* Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah
* Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah
* Squawking Magpie Stoned Crow Syrah
* Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah
* Vidal Reserve Syrah
* William Murdoch Syrah

- Hawkes Bay Today

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