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edited by Sue Courtney
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Wine of the Week for week ending 4 Oct 2009
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Te Mata Woodthorpe Syrah 2007
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

I've been raving about the 2007 vintage - the quality of the reds in particular. It's been discussed here on my blog and on the wine forums I frequent. It reminds me a little of 1998, when the 'cheaper' wines really delivered the quality of wines three times the price.

It's like that with the 2007 reds, particularly from Hawkes Bay. We're seeing depth and complexity in the Cabernets and the Merlots, I've tasted some of the most delicious Pinot Noir ever to come out of Hawkes Bay and the 2007 Syrah's are a treat almost right cross the board. Only now, with inflation, the cheaper wines are delivering the quality of wines four or five times the price. Will they cellar as well? Only time will tell.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Syrah 2007 is one of those wines to deliver value and enjoyment.

It's deep crimson red, opaque in appearance with purple / black flashes. There's a winey sweetness to the aroma with distinctive pepper, dried herb and bitter chocolate and the wine in the mouth is soft, spicy and creamy and infused with ground gourmet (ie multi-coloured) peppercorns. It's gentle in attack - like Pinot Noir, with an earthy depth - like Pinot Noir, but with beautiful florals and spice that is just so Syrah. It's soft, gentle and juicy with a purple/red fruit sweetness tempering the savoury backbone. It's succulent and enveloping in a medium-bodied style and maybe it's the 5% Viognier that adds the x-factor to this very drinkable wine.

We bought the bottle for $18 after a tasting with Peter Cowley at First Glass at the beginning of August (my notes here) - and I see Te Mata sell it for $18.80 a bottle from their website. It has 13.5% alcohol stated on the back label of the bottle and a screwcap closure.

We accompanied the Syrah with a mushroom and bacon fettuccine. We had copious amounts of mushroom, a lightly sauteed tomato and lots of fresh parsley and chives. It was a good match, the earthy flavours harmonising nicely but the Syrah's spiciness adding an extra dimension of overall brightness to the wine and food combo.

I had a taste of the latest release Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2008 at the Eurowine Roadshow last week - it's fragrant, it's floral, it's spicy and the creamy oak sits nicely, but the tannins are so, so tight, it needs time in the cellar to evolve. The Te Mata Woodthorpe Syrah is made to be an approachable style - it's made to drink, not cellar, but from my experience, this has potential to cellar regardless.

© Sue Courtney
29 Sep 2009


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