Today’s the day to talk top red wines for the so-called silly season, which means Christmas, New Year, the holidays and all that entails… My top reds come from far and wide but here are a handful of top drops that have impressed me during the hectic year that was 2016…

 

2014 Craggy Range Le Sol $109-$125

It bears a price tag that is not for the faint hearted, and nor is the incredibly deep purple colour and richly concentrated flavours in this 100% Syrah made from grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay. This is the best Le Sol I have yet tried from Craggy Range over the years; the 2014 vintage was superlative, as this wine shows in its dry style, intense concentration of dark fruit flavours and hints of spice. Complex, rewarding, sensational quality.

2014 Trinity Hill Homage Syrah $80-$100

Syrah has gone from virtually zero to almost hero in Hawke’s Bay over the past 10 years, rising from a modest 257 hectares nationwide in 2007 to 443 hectares today – and counting. There is now more of it than Cabernet Sauvignon, which has declined significantly over the same period of time. Wines such as this reveal why this trend has occurred – the dark soft fruit flavours and ripe smoothness suggest a wine for the long haul – 10 years and then some, in a good cellar, but it also drinks deliciously now. And if this is too hefty for the budget, try this…

2014 Trinity Hill White Label Syrah $17-$18

It’s lower in price but no less delicious… Dark, spicy, black fruity in taste and long on the finish.

2014 Telmo Rodriguez Dehesa Gago Tinta de Toro $30-ish

This is one for a trip to the specialist wine store; made from old bush vines grown in the dusty heartland of northern Spain’s Toro region, which means it’s made entirely from the great Tempranillo grape. Everything you want in a red – chocolatey, spicy, soft, big, dark…

2014 D’Arenberg The Stump Jump GSM $18

A big name winery with a small winery adherence to quality… more to come on this one, but trust me, this GSM is a stunner. It stands for Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, and it shines a light on what’s right about great value Australian reds, thanks to outstanding winemaking from Toby Porter.