Since its inception in 1993, partners John Hancock, who has been making wine in New Zealand for over 35 years, and Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of The Bleeding Heart and The Don in London, have made Trinity Hill a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is also in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill, 47 of which are in the Gimblett Gravels and knows the Hawkes Bay and Gimblett Gravels exceptionally well. The wines reflect this, as they characterise the best of what Hawkes Bay can produce. They have an elegance, balance, drinkability and precision of flavour that makes them a joy to sell.
The Syrah grapes were taken from a range of vineyards, including the company owned properties in the Gimblett Gravels region and contracted fruit from the Bridge Pa Triangle. The soils are free draining with low fertility and the vines benefit from prevailing hot, dry westerly winds.
The 2015/2016 vintage in Hawkes Bay provided various challenges for winegrowers. The winter was relatively mild but was followed by a cool, moist spring. This threatened many thinner-skinned varieties with some yields being affected by rot. Affected fruit was removed and crops were thinned, which gave healthy fruit a good chance. A hot, dry summer also helped to preserve fruit health and provided optimal conditions for fruit ripening. At harvest, grapes had developed robust flavour profiles and had low sugar levels meaning resulting wines were aromatic with moderate alcohol levels.
Each individual vineyard parcel was harvested separately with the majority of batches then de-stemmed prior to fermentation. Approximately 15% of the parcels were fermented as whole bunches. Subsequently, gentle daily pumping over of the skins during fermentation helped extract a soft, complex structure. The skin maceration was extended for up to three weeks following fermentation to further integrate and soften the tannins. Following seven months of ageing in a combination of small French oak and stainless steel tanks, the individual blocks were blended to create the ideal marriage of components.
The blackberry, spice and liqorice nuances combine to produce a fruit dominant but complex wine. A small inclusion of the white variety Viognier gives the wine beautiful perfume and allows the wine more accessibility while young.
This wine is of the lighter style and can happily be enjoyed by the glass or alternatively with a wide range of food, particularly red meat dishes, game or pasta.