Mind-Boggling Complexity Out of a New Zealand Syrah

Today’s Story: Bilancia

Bilancia is a small winery and estate established by Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson in 1997 in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Lorraine and Warren are both winemakers by trade and studied at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, ultimately making wines in Australia, Hungary, Italy, California, France, and Portugal between the two of them. Bilancia’s focal point is a 6 hectare (15 acre) vineyard known as La Collina, and it is planted to Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a small amount of Gewürztraminer. Bilancia also sources Pinot Gris from Black Bridge Estate and other high-quality fruit from several renowned Hawke’s Bay vineyards.

I previously reviewed the 2007 La Collina Syrah, an earlier vintage of the wine I am reviewing today.

Today’s Wine: 2016 La Collina Syrah

100% Syrah; 13% ABV

The 2016 La Collina Syrah is deep ruby in color with garnet hues along the rim of the glass. I decanted this for about an hour and it changed drastically over the course of consumption. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the incredibly deep and complex nose showcasing notes of blueberry, dehydrated plum, blackberry, anise, violet, gunsmoke, incense, cracked black pepper, scorched earth, black tea, cinnamon, dried vanilla bean, and clove. The flavors are also pronounced and the palate is equally complex, offering up notes of blueberry, blackberry, spiced plum, sweet tobacco, bacon fat, licorice, charred green herbs, black olive, cracked green peppercorn, volcanic rock, milk chocolate, mild toasted oak, clove, and a hint of smoke. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $95. This wine is absolutely worth its price and, while not cheap, offers great value. The depth and complexity is truly mind-boggling, all wrapped together in a well-balanced wine that finishes quite long. The incense aroma is quite captivating on its own.

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