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 and it leaves slippery, succulent, mouthwatering finish. Sip with: Peppery duck liver pate www.mouterehills.co.nz

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 www.johner-estate.com

The Landing Bay of Islands Syrah 2013 $38

Wow!  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 www.thelandingvineyard.com

Pask Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013 $22 ★★★★

Can Kate Radburnd and her crack-team of winemakers do no wrong?  This Gimblett Gravels pioneer producer has syrah expertly sewn up, crafting an ultra-bright, intensely aromatic example, which oozes fruitwood smoke, cracked pepper, rose and violet notes alongside an underlying earthy character on the nose.  Flavour-wise it boasts juicy dark fruit, vanilla and cocoa, tannins […]

Omaka Springs Estate ‘Vixen’ Marlborough Syrah 2013 $40 ★★★★

Ian Marchant is the winemaker responsible for shepherding this sensational syrah into the bottle from its home in Marlborough’s southern valleys.  With its deeply sexy, magenta-purple hue, aromas of vanilla, violets, damson plum and dusty leather followed by a succulent, meaty, yet fresh and vibrantly fruity mouthfeel.  Named after OSE’s owner Geoff Jensen’s ‘Sea Vixen’ […]

Squawking Magpie The Gravels Syrah $30 ★★★★½

The impenetrable, inky-dark colour saturation is the first thing that gets you with this wine; it’s incredibly dense, dark, a stormcloud in a glass.   Perfumed with blackcurrant, cherry and pepper-dusted damson plums, the nose is exciting, spice-driven and has smoke around the edges.  Elegantly structured, the core of this wine has dark fruit, exotic […]

Hopes Grove Hawke’s Bay Silver Lining Syrah 2010 ★★★★

Deeply saturated, glossy and dark, here’s an intensely spicy syrah showing hints of smoke and leather. Six years in the bottle has borne violets, fresh pepper and gamey characters on the palate and a finish loaded with bay leaf, black tea and earthy cocoa characters. Grown in the limestone loveliness of Hawke’s Bay’s lesser-known sub-region […]

Church Road TOM Syrah 2013 $200 ★★★★★

For this, the first ever release of a TOM syrah, 100% of the fruit was sourced from the Redstone vineyard inside the Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District, New Zealand’s newest ‘official’ wine region.  A couple of swirls in the glass reveals elegant white pepper, fresh blackberry, violet and vanilla alongside exceptionally buoyant layers of concentrated […]

Chapel Hill ‘The Parson’ Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2015 $19.99 ★★★½

This is a 64:30:6 blend boasting violets, pepper, dried bouquet-garni herbs, blackcurrant, soft spices and a red-fruited core.  The tannins are deliciously dusty and this is a superb style of red for anyone wanting a stepping stone from pinot noir to something stronger. www.glengarrywines.co.nz

Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz 2014 $18 ★★★½

This is a classic style of affordable shiraz oozing bright berryfruit and violet aromas and a mouthfeel tht’s soft, warming and mellow with saucy, plummy notes and hints of dark chocolate to finish.  Dangerously easy to drink and easy on the wallet. Widely available

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