Saturday, 21 March 2015

Gimblett Gravels or Gimblett Road Review of Twelve 2012 Syrah or Cabernet or Merlot Blends

A collection of 12 wines selected by Master of Wine Andrew Caillard.

This is the fifth such release, following the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages.

Trinity Hill by John Hancock 2012 Syrah Gimblett Gravels (Screw Top Closed)
Powerful, intense and richly scented; dark berries laced with spice, hints of licorice and a toasty oak drive. Medium+ weight with a firm structure built around the balance between the generosity of fruit, healthy measure of oak and blend of tannins. As the wine opens up the complexity builds as does the strength of the acidity and youthful tension. A long finish that is generous and lush yet shows a wine with great potential for ageing.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Mission Estate Winery 2012 Gimblett Gravels Reserve Syrah (Diam Cork Closed)
A very striking bouquet with a sweet almost floral scented beginning followed by a black cherry, blue berry and raspberry fruit core; medium+ toasty oak and spice layer with an overall concentrated medium+ complexity. On the palate a juicy wine with emphasis on the core of fruit then dusty medium+ tannins and acidity which has a light tartness to it adding tension and reminding me of its youthful energy. Quite a long finish with a cool climate Syrah signature. 
5 Stars

Sacred Hill 'Deerstalkers' Syrah 2012 Gimblett Gravels (Cork Closed)
Fantastic bouquet, quite complete with a warmth and energy centering a rich and ripe collection of dark berries laced with a little pepper; significant oak that seems well placed with a lightly sweet edge yet full of power and presence; the palate reflects the nose with a juicy and generous beginning almost sweet, but not quite, then a collection of oak, tannin and acid features all looking for attention. In other words a wine very much in early bottle development with a long and winding finish.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Villa Maria Reserve Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Ripe rich toasty and spicy, lots of concentration driven by a powerful core of fruit and specific oak; As the wine begins to open up the layers of potential begin to show with field mushroom, violet and velvet rose and a definitive gravelly soil layer. A big wine on the palate with forceful oak equaled by a rich fruit core and noteworthy acidity; high tannins and very firm structure point to a wine at the beginning of its bottle development still and requires at least a few years to climb to its plateau. Dry, long and delicious.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Unison Gimblett Gravels Syrah Hawke's Bay 2012 (Agglomerate Cork Closed)
Seductive bouquet with immediate complexity from highly scented red florals, raspberry and black cherry lead fruit suggestions and lots of sweet oak with mild to medium toast attributes. The palate reflects the bouquet with sweet fruit, sweet oak and lots of youthful grip from the acidity; the tannins take a back seat at first allowing some of the peppery, roasted fruit and gravelly soil suggestions to lead the way. When the tannins do kick into second gear they take a front seat with dusty fine textures plus a concentration that reminds this wine is also going to take a while to find its sweet spot of complete harmony. So give this one the time required of a few years to really show its true potential; Very nice indeed.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Squawking Magpie Gimblett gravels 2012 'Stoned Crow' Syrah (Screw Top Closed)
Smokey, toasty, leathery, rich and concentrated - a significant bouquet that reveals a wee bit more with each swirl of the glass. Roasted red and black fruits; lots of pepper and brown spice accentuated by bold oak scents; stony mineral qualities and an overall powerful beginning.
The palate structure is excellent with a sweetness and harmony from the fruit and oak held in place by medium+ acidity and plentiful tannins. The tannins show both a fine dusty layer and firm chunkier layer. A long finish that is as bold as when the wine is first tasted.
5 Stars

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Quite a calm bouquet for a Craggy Syrah with gentle aromas lead by a collection of medium to darker red fruits, some floral moments and a mix of soil and oak both in balance with the power of the fruit - very clever! These attributes follow through on the palate with a milder more European Rhone feel. That said the wine has a great line of acidity, medium+ tannins  - some firm, some dusty, some chalky, and very judicious use of oak. Medium+ to long, but not strong finish with a mild gravels and pepper kick. 
5 Stars

Alluviale Gimblett Road Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Quite a complete bouquet with the scents of dark plum Merlot, dark berried Cabernet and spicy toasty oak all noticeably separate, but also talking to each other and showing lots of energy and vibrancy. Some violet, gravel and graphite suggestions add complexity and masculine moments. The palate reflects the bouquet with plenty of fruit, but a firm youthful grip as well from high(ish) chalky dusty tannins and higher acidity - this is a wine built for the long haul. Dry, long finish, very well made.
5 Stars (90 points)

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Gimblett Gravels 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
There's no mistaking the drive and signature of Cabernet Sauvignon in this bouquet with a roasted bell pepper, cigar box and black fruits shout; lots of dark plum and new leather with a gravel soils suggestion and plenty of youthful oak. The palate reveals a very classic tasting wine with lots of concentration energy and power; there's a delicious sweet spot that shows immediately - mostly from the oak, but also from a synergy between the fruit and oak.
This wine delivers way more on the palate than the nose suggests - it is masculine, flavourful, layered, complex and delicious! A long and persistent finish demonstrates also this wine's potential to age.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Babich Irongagte Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot Franc 2012 (Diam Cork Closed)
An immediately complex bouquet with layers of fruit and oak unfolding in quick succession  - black fruit, oak, spice, plum and bitter chocolate. It is traditional too in its Bordeaux styled attack. I notice a kelp/seashore/iron/chlorophyll like suggestion adding a little mystery and charm. Overall a very pleasing and inviting bouquet. On the palate - dry, complex and compelling - this is a wine that makes you want to savor every layer and contemplate each for a while - this is rare and very enjoyable. Flavors of red and black fruits return, plenty of acidity and tannins to keep the tension and poise on the palate in tact. A long finish. Overall a compelling and complex wine.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Unison Gimblett Gravels Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012 (Agglomerate Cork Closed)
A bouquet lead by equal measures of fruit, soil and oak suggestions: riper Cabernet black fruits then plum notes followed by wet stone and gravel soil suggestions and finally a sweet and dry spice layer of oak with a medium toastiness. On the palate - dry, spicy, complex and layered. The flavors on the palate draw lots of attention and make me think harder about what they remind me of - there's a mix of dried herb and leather; black and red fruits with a violet note and lots of fine tannins with medium+ acidity holding all these elements in place. A thoroughly interesting wine with complexity, texture and finish.
5 Stars

Babich 'The Patriarch' 2012 Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Road (Diam Cork Closed) 
(I also noticed quite a lot of tartrates clinging to the cork and sitting in the bottom of the glass)
Wild red and black fruits lead the bouquet with cherry, blue berry and black berry stepping up; lots of sweet oak and mild+ toasty features, vanilla and sweet meat suggestions; overall quite masculine. On the palate - dry yet very fruity with lots of red and black fruit reminders; medium+ tannins and oak with vanilla and brown oak spice suggestions. I could happily drink this wine today and while the tannins and acidity suggest the wine can age as well it would not be for more than a couple of years. Balanced and well made this is a wine to please a broad range of red wine palates.
5 Stars

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