I’m convinced Rod McDonald, winemaker and owner of Te Awanga Estate, actually has syrah running through is veins instead of blood. He’s so intuitive with each vintage, it’s like he and those grapes have telepathic connections that work to create deliciousness in the bottle every time. The 2018 is perfumed with violets, blueberry, a tweak of tobacco smoke and freshly cracked black pepper. It’s glossy in the glass and the mid-palate is soothing yet has a velcro-like grip on the gums that leads to a complex, warming, cuddly finish. It’ll cellar nicely over the coming 4-5 years.