So you thought Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke had this varietal all sewn up? Here’s a trio from less well-known zones…

The Landing Bay of Islands Syrah 2013 $38

Grown atop the so-beautiful-it's-unreal Purerua Peninsula in the Bay of Islands and crafted by the legendary Rod MacIvor at Marsden Estate in Kerikeri, this syrah has alluring aromas of vanilla-spiced plum and lush, dark berryfruits, followed by a velvety-smooth, densely concentrated mouthfeel and finish.

Sip with: slivers of venison salami.

Moutere Hills Single Vineyard Nelson Syrah 2015 $35


Lean and lifted, green peppercorn, violets, plush red berryfruits and truckloads of spice burst out of the glass and merge with fresh, elegant plum and cocoa characters; leaving a slippery, succulent, mouthwatering finish.

Sip with: peppery duck liver pate.

Johner Gladstone Syrah 2013 $50

Reds-wise, people tend to think the Wairarapa is pinot noir country, but sensational syrah is their secret little talent. Earthy, gamey aromatic layers of smoke, old leather, cocoa and pepper entice the nose and osmose into the palate, leaving a juicy, succulent and seriously savoury impression.

Sip with: Strong, crumbly aged cheddar.