Highlights: Two from Sam Harrop: Chardonnay from Waiheke and Syrah from Hawke’s Bay

Sam Harrop is an accomplished winemaker who consults widely around the wine world. He spent a number of years in the UK, first working as a winemaker with Marks & Spencer, and then with Litmus Wines. He was also one of the founders of Matassa, in the Roussillon, although he’s no longer involved here. Now back in New Zealand, he’s making some of his own wines, and I tasted these two with him yesterday. They are really impressive.

Cedalion Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 Onetangi, Waiheke Island, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Jomara Vineyard: clone 95, typical Waiheke heavy clay soils. Picked quite early, whole bunch press, cold settle for three days with 40 ppm SO2, then rack and heat it to 14 C, then add Torulospora, then CY3079 yeast (Burgundy selection), then ferment in 300 litre barrels in a cold room at 9 C. No lees stirring, no further additions. No malolactic this year (he never uses more than 50%). This is taut and mineral with some toasty hints but also a lovely saline thread. The core of this wine is fresh citrus fruit but there’s also some peach and pear richness and a touch of hazelnut. There’s a sense of harmony here and a nice acid line. Serious stuff. 94/100

Grand Amateur Gentleman Syrah 2019 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13% alcohol. Very expressive and floral with a fresh black cherry and blackberry quality as well as some fine green notes. The palate is juicy and fine with a supple quality: this is very fresh and has hints of olive and clove, as well as some subtle salty characters. Real finesse here. 95/100

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