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From the archive: New Zealand Syrah – panel tasting results

New Zealand Syrahs are consistently high in quality and are capable of offering excellent value compared to the Rhône, according to our experts. See the full report and top rated wines below.

Published in the November 2015 issue of Decanter magazine and now available online and in full, exclusively for Premium subscribers.

  • 68 New Zealand Syrah wines tasted, with five rated Outstanding

  • ‘An exciting, quality-driven line up! Gimblett Gravels was the star, with wines of great structure, elegance and poise,’ said Melanie Brown, who judged in this tasting alongside Christine Parkinson and Philip Tuck MW.


Our experts were jubilant at the quality of these wines, reports Tine Gellie in Decanter’s November 2015 issue.

Gimblett Gravels is probably the best site outside France not only for Bordeaux varieties but also for Syrah,’ said Philip Tuck MW. Melanie Brown agreed, adding, ‘They are exceptional value compared to the Rhône.’

Hawke’s Bay Syrah: know your vintages

2014 A cool start then a hot, dry period followed by Cyclone Lusi which did little damage. A challenger to the excellent 2013s.

2013 A long, warm summer with modest rainfall. An easy vintage producing many top wines.

2012 Wet; the worst in 20 years.

2011 Warm and wet conditions were better for reds than whites.

2010 Moderately cool vintage but low crops of Syrah helped achieve good ripeness.

2009 A cool start with a warm, dry finish. Syrah was the star.

2008 Rainfall and humidity made this a challenging vintage. Quality was patchy.

2007 Very dry vintage and lots of heat produced soft, ripe wines.

Top New Zealand Syrah from the panel tasting:


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