Expanding Range To Expand The Range
Wither Hills, as a brand, is intrinsically connected to Marlborough and that connection has helped them to become one of our most iconic wine producers, but when it came to their first-ever Syrah and Merlot varietals, they had to go further north. The new Merlot 2018 and Syrah 2018 are from Hawke’s Bay rather than Marlborough, the brand’s spiritual home.
Matt Large, Head Winemaker at Wither Hills explains that although they had tried with a few small batches over the years, “it’s clear that the Hawke’s Bay is the best region for creating Merlots and Syrahs of depth and richness. This is thanks to the warmer climate, which allows the fruit to ripen more fully, really bringing out the flavours in the wine. We’ve created a warmly textured Merlot, matured under different oak regimes over 18 months to bring out vibrant dark plum flavours, with nuances of cigar box and chocolate. To create our Syrah, we gently de-stem and ferment the fruit before an extended maceration period to soften the tannins, resulting in a varietal packed with notes of dark fruit, pepper and spice,” says Matt.
To celebrate the launch and to show further Marlborough / Hawkes Bay goodwill, Wither Hills commissioned Napier-based ceramic artist Holly Morgan to create an exclusive range of tableware that integrates raw materials from the Te Awanga region, home to some of the grapes in these wines.
Leila McCracken, Senior Brand Manager of Wither Hills, references the brand’s “Made Beautifully” ethos for one of the reasons to team up with Holly. “It’s this commitment to quality that is at the heart of our brand and all we do. With that in mind, it made sense to work with an artisan like Holly to celebrate the new red wines. The passion and incredible care she has in her craft are values shared by our team, who are also inspired by the unique character of New Zealand’s land.”
Spring brought a good start to the season in Hawke’s Bay. High levels of sunshine and warm night temperatures during summer pushed ripening along, allowing Syrah to ripen to its full potential and to be harvested in pristine conditions under blue skies.
Crammed full of dark fruit, pepper, spice and floral notes, the Syrah 2018 is an elegantly textured wine with seductive, lingering toasty oak. Beautifully balanced, this wine will soften and develop more savoury notes with careful cellaring.
The perfect partner to quintessential Kiwi flavours Grilled Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary Sticky Glazed Pork Ribs Venison with Roast Vegetable Salad.
The 2018 vintage in Hawke’s Bay was one of the warmest summers on record, allowing for superb conditions for ripening Merlot. The grapes for this wine were harvested from exceptional areas within Hawke’s Bay. Each parcel of fruit was fermented in small batches, using traditional Bordeaux methods. A small portion was selected for partial barrel fermentation to add complexity. The wine was matured for 18 months, under different oak regimes.
A lovely, dense yet exquisitely structured and warmly textured Merlot. The soft tannins produce an approachable style, designed to complement any fine dining experience.
This is the wine to have when you don’t know what to drink. Partnering easily with a broad range of foods like duck, pasta and dishes with rich gravies. Try: Mediterranean Lamb Burgers, Mushroom Risotto, Braised Ox-Tail with Polenta.
Try the new range now at WitherHills.co.nz