Saturday, July 29, 2017


It’s done all around the world where wine is grown and made, Vignerons make and bottle their different varieties and clones separately to see how they turn out and decide if blending and in what proportion to make a better wine.  The Bordelaise have done it as do growers of the Bordeaux varietals.  That’s how we know Cabernet Sauvignon is firmer, more acid and definitely blackcurrant when compared to the lighter, softer sweeter and rounder Merlot.  And Pinot Noir producers love to talk clones.  In New Zealand it’s the older 10/5 and Pommard 5 or more modern Dijon clones.  They all have their differences and are well-discussed.  It’s happening with Syrah here too.
But I don’t think there have been separate bottlings of Syrah clones made to be sold to the consumer to compare yet.  Until now.  Lauren Swift, the young and passionate winemaker at Ash Ridge in the Bridge Pa Triangle district of Hawke’s Bay was so keen to retain and show the individuality of the MS (Mass Select) or ‘Limmer’ or ‘Heritage’ clone of the variety to that of the ‘Chave’ clone they have growing at Ash Ridge.  Owner Chris Wilcock agreed to bottling a barrel each of the different clones for the comparison process and commercialise it.
Thus was born the 2014 Doppio MS Hawke’s Bay Syrah and Doppio Chave Hawke’s Bay Syrah.  Almost identically treated.  The MS more red fruits, fragrant, floral finer and more supple.  A deliciously approachable drop.  Then the Chave, darker, blacker colour and fruits, more firm and tannic.  One could say feminine to masculine.  The only little problem was the MS was in a new barrel, the Chave wine was in a one y.o. barrel, to make both more on par in accessibility together.  The scientist in me says the oaking should have been the same – say both in one y.o. barrels, for a true comparison.  On the surface, they are dopplegangers.  But in reality fraternal twins.  

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