It’s the most natural thing to say that the biggest, boldest and most flavoursome wine is best. Power is sought-after, and lightness somewhat frowned upon as being weak and sub-standard. And there’s some truth to this, as the wines with the most impact have been made from the most flavoursome and ripest grapes, had as much goodness taken out of the berries and turned into wine. Then these wines may have the most inputs to match the fruit intensity and extract. Such wines sometimes deserve to be put on a pedestal – and revered. But also along with it is the fact that these wines are made to be shared among many people, as a small glass will suffice. A large glass can be a bit of work to finish, and a bottle may need to be consumed over the course of more than one day.
Of course, lighter and lesser wines are easier to drink. There is less challenge, as the flavours are less forceful and mouthfilling. The structure is undemanding, and there’s nothing to hinder you drinking it easily. Hang-on here….it sounds like the latter approach is the way to enjoy drinking a wine? Mind you, weak wine doesn’t satisfy the palate and senses. So it must be in the middle. The best wines have great flavour and structure, are full of character, but smooth and easy enough to enjoy without hindrance. To get to that point is not easy….it takes a master winegrower to judge that balance to make such a wine.
And the 2016 Trinity ‘Homage’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah is one such wine, Beautifully easy to sip and drink. The range of aromas and flavours are perfect expressions of the grape and place – and of vintage. The wine is satisfying and almost sating, but requiring another glass to check. A full array of detail to draw you one way, then another, and all this accumulating to make something greater than its parts (that’s my psychology training). There is beauty and true harmony. A great wine for the soul indeed. Wondrous enough to evoke a tear of pleasure!
The wine has a story. Inspired by Gerard Jaboulet of the Rhone and his ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage, Trinity Hill’s founding winemaker John Hancock created this wine firstly in 2002 as a tribute to Gerard who passed away at the too-young age of 55 years. Made from the MS Syrah clone which traces its history back to James Busby, plus vines from cuttings that Gerard gave to John as a gift. Picked at perfect ripeness to show fruit and elegance. Enough subtle inputs such as whole bunch and oaking to add layers of interest. And super judgement of extraction and barrel-aging. John Handcock, Warren Gibson, Damian Fischer and team have made the most delicious wine. It isn’t the most powerful or striking ‘Homage’, but it’s the most drinkable and enjoyable. What could be more perfect than that?