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WINE OF THE WEEK: Elephant Hill Syrah 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

£19–£21.30, Theatre of Wine, Mr & Mrs Fine Wine, Great Western Wine, Hedonism Wines

Elephant Hill Syrah

This was the first Elephant Hill wine I'd come across when I tasted it a few months ago and I was bowled over. I tasted it again earlier this month with Steve Skinner, the winemaker, and was again bowled over by its combination of velvety richness, freshness and elegance and by the crunchy black fruit, peppery spice and sheen of polished oak. All the more impressive is the fact that this is the cheapest of Elephant Hill's three Syrahs. There's also a Reserve and a top Syrah called Airavata, both of which I highly recommend. I recommend the winery's other wines too, all of which I tasted alongside classic wines from some of France's foremost estates. The wines are all made from Elephant Hill's own three vineyards in Hawkes Bay on the North Island (specifically in Te Awanga, Gimblett Gravels and the Bridge Pa Triangle), which Skinner says gives him complete control, and all are made by Skinner without any assistants. As I say, impressive. Drink this Syrah with game birds, duck or red meat or with baked or casseroled vegetable dishes.

Elephant Hill Syrah 2015, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

£19, Theatre of Wine; £19.49, Mr & Mrs Fine Wine; £19.95, Great Western Wine; £21.30, Hedonism Wines

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