Ben Byrne's bottled magic
Byrne Vineyard Puketotara Syrah 2015
Here you have 100 per cent whole-bunch-fermented, "Chave" clone Syrah from the volcanic loam soils of the Fat Pig vineyard on Puketotara Rd in Waipapa. Gently foot-stomped and aged in old French oak, this Syrah weighs in at just 11.5 per cent alcohol. Scented with green peppercorn and violets, it has a plush, black-fruited core, a smooth, earthy finish and tannins that are soft and powdery.
Sip with venison burgers
Byrne Vineyard Waingaro Syrah 2015
Ben's original Syrah, sourced from five clones grown on his tiny, north-facing block overlooking Lake Waingaro, Kerikeri's main water supply, is 30 per cent whole-bunch-fermented with a splash of viognier and some extra viognier skins to boost the aromatic lift. Glossy, gorgeous and perfumed with pepper, violets, bay, cocoa and a hint of apricot kernel, it's smooth and saucy.
Sip with peppered steak salad
Byrne Vineyard Te Puna Syrah 2015
Sourced from a tiny patch overlooking Te Puna inlet, this smooth, inky-maroon, unfiltered Syrah bursts with fresh berries, subtle cocoa and plucky pepper characters. Ten per cent whole-bunch-fermented, 50 per cent of which was aged in new French oak, this is fleshy, earthy fabulousness in a bottle.
Sip with classic beef tartare
Yvonne Lorkin is co-founder and chief tasting officer of winefriend.co.nz and a Wine Writers of NZ member.