Tale of Two Syrah's
Left to right 2019 – 2014
Ohiti Gravels Syrah 2014
Eight years old and going strong. Those fruit-driven aromas are replaced with sweet pipe tobacco and black olives.
The palate is where aged reds come into their own! Mouthfeel is sweet full and engaging. The warmth of alcohol shows the generous flavours, hints of dry meats, and black cherry from this wine’s youth still showing. The wine’s colour is deep, black reds, just the hint of age showing.
This cool-climate Syrah will not disappoint.
Ohiti Gravels Syrah 2019
Aromatics of wildflowers and honeysuckle, broody dark fruits.
The sweet dark cherry on the palate at first, powerful and mouth-filling, lovely oak hints wash in adding to the warmth and mouthfeel. Great persistence with a long finish. Ohiti Syrah is big on fruit and not over white peppered.
The biggest winemaking difference in the 2014 and 2019 styles is the extended 22 months of aging in the barrel of 2019.
2014 vintage was friendly enough to us as growers, dry extended autumn allowed Syrah to concentrate. Fun fact Syrah stops Brix accumulation at or around 19 brix then the remaining rise in sugar is via loss of water and concentration of existing sugars. Hence things can get delicate towards the end of the ripening cycle, the fruit “golf balls”, become dimpled.
2019 was a beast of a vintage. In a good way. Hot, super-hot, and dry. We had water restrictions towards the end of harvest which is hard on Syrah as this variety can not regulate its stomata and can become stressed with the continuous heat. The 2019 fruit was ripe, and had dark seeds showing it was fully ready to come off the vine.
Part of our wine story is releasing the wines when they have some age, showing them to their full potential, as a high percentage of wines in NZ are consumed within a day of purchasing and very few are put into a cellar to age. On this basis we have decided to now age our Syrah in barrel for 22 months allowing the oak pick up and intergradation to bed in, knowing that the wine will have time in the bottle before its shown to consumers.