This is the new vintage release of one of New Zealand’s most sought-after syrah’s. Produced only in years when the fruit is exceptional, the 2018 Homage was crafted from 99.6% syrah and 0.4% viognier hand-harvested from three different Gimblett Gravels sites including 70% Gimblett Estate, 19% Tin Shed Vineyard and 11% from the Gimblett Stones vineyard. All parcels were fermented separately, one parcel was fermented with 100% whole bunches and viognier skins and the rest predominantly were aged in French oak barriques (32% new) for between 12-15 months. I say ‘predominantly because one parcel was aged in a 5400lt French oak ‘oval’ for 8 months before being transferred to barrels for another 6 months. The wines were then left in situ and only stirred gently when required before being blended and bottled under screwcap for the first time in its history (following a 20yr trial) in September 2019. The new, screwcap closure for Homage following a 10 yr Homage trial and a 20yr reds trial, is an exciting development. Not only does it give a guarantee of TCA-free quality, but it means earlier drinkability and continued cellaring potential, a smoother mouthfeel and, very happily, less SO2 in the wine.
It’s incredibly aromatic, erupting with red fruits, raspberry, cherry, red apple and cranberry when then unveil a black fruit core. Silky, saturated with spice and showing style and sophistication, it’s elegant and lithe on the palate and reveals layers of liquorice, pepper and dark cocoa on its long, elegant finish. Lovely straight from the bottle, but absolutely stunning once decanted. I’d happily cellar this for 15 years or more.