Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Homage to Syrah... wine of the week

Good vintages come in pairs in Hawke's Bay, as the latest duo of 2019 and 2020 Homage Syrah show. This wine of the week is from the 2019 vintage and while I have had the privilege of tasting (as a critic and wine writer) the 2020, it will not be released for another year... bring it on. Both wines are exceptional expressions of Hawke's Bay Syrah.

It's exactly what Homage is intended to be, says winemaker Damian Fischer. 

Homage is Trinity Hill's top red made each year and is the result of the winemaker's aim to create the best expression of Syrah they can make in any given year. Most years, Homage is predominantly a Gimblett Gravels wine because that's where most of the winery's Syrah vineyards are located but the words Gimblett Gravels don't appear on the label as this allows them the flexibility to use all of the vineyard resources at their disposal, including the Hillside Vineyard, situated behind the winery.

In order to use Gimblett Gravels on the label, and qualify for the GGWA Annual Vintage Selection, the wine needs to contain at least 95 per cent of its raw material (grapes) from the Gimblett Gravels. The 2019 Homage contains 81 per cent and the 2020 contains 100 per cent.

Damian describes 2019 as New Zealand’s third hottest summer on record with low rainfall in January and February, which continued into March and April, remaining warm and dry, allowing the fruit to reach full physiological ripeness.

Wine of the week

2019 Trinity Hill Homage RRP $150

Smooth, dark and powerful, this beautiful full bodied, fleshy Syrah tastes of ripe red plum aromas leading into ripe blackberry notes, aromas of fresh cedar and super impressive structure balanced by zingy acidity, which adds balance to the depth of fruit flavour in this wine. The wine contains 81 per cent grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels. It was aged in a combination of small and large oak barrels. It was bottled unfined so it is vegan.

Syrah clones are 78% Mass Selection, 13% Clone 174, 8% Baileys and 1% Clone 642 (Viognier).