Matariki Syrah

Here’s a wine worth trying – Matariki Syrah 2005, grown in the hot terroir of the Gimblett Gravels by Matariki Wines Limited. I was given this bottle as a gift by the Media 7 team (producer, Top Shelf Productions) for giving up my Saturday morning to fly to Auckland and take part in their election special last Saturday.


As you can see, it’s been recommended by Cuisine magazine, and it had the nice peppery palate that I enjoy from New Zealand reds which have been ripened in very hot climates.

Matariki is actually the name for the Maori New Year, and is celebrated for one month from 5 June to 5 July. Matariki is the group of stars known as the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades Cluster. I’m not sure why the O’Connors decided to name their vineyard after this celebration, as our vineyards go to sleep at this time of the year, but there you go.

The wine’s back label describes this syrah thus: “Estate produced from our stony soils on Gimblett Road, this Rhone style syrah shows deep ruby colour, berry fruits, and black pepper. A finely textured wine displaying good acidity, elegant fruit and a long dry finish after 18 months ageing in predominatly French oak. Enjoy now but cellaring will be rewarded.”

Actually, if I had one criticism, it would be that the oak was too dominant – the tannins were a bit irritating. But hey, this is a nice syrah, and we don’t find too many of those in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Martinborough is sprucing up for this weekend’s big celebration, Toast Martinborough. 10,000 people hit the village on Sunday for music, wine, food, and hopefully sunshine. I’ve never been, and we’ve been lucky to score tickets (they sell out in 5 minutes) so I’ll take my camera and record some of the sights. Even though it’s billed as “wine tasting”, not a lot of spitting goes on, so there are some pretty sloshed people by the end of the day. Good for the local economy, though, and it’s exciting seeing our little town scrub up and don its best bib and tucker.


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