Little Wing Waiheke Island Syrah 2016 $60
This is Gillian and Gareth MacLachlan’s red riot. They became obsessed with Syrah after working in the Northern Rhone in 2010, so when the opportunity came along to purchase a semi-abandoned oceanfront vineyard on Waiheke Island years later, of course syrah was compulsory! Planted on heavy clays, super-close together so the vines don’t get too vigourous, this ultra-smooth syrah is hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, pressed with a traditional, manually-operated basket press then matured in barrel for 16 months before bottling. Keeping things as hands-off as possible, this wine is unfined and unfiltered, yet shows concentrated fruit, vanilla notes, soft pepper and cuddly, woolly tannins on the palate. An earthy, savoury sip that’s drinking nicely now, but will reward some time in the cellar too.