Syrah Masters – Asia 2020

Our final Masters of the month saw dbAsia examine a range of Syrah (or Shiraz) from around the world, and it showed that Australia continues to be a reliable source for this powerhouse variety.

The big winner was Australian Vintage, which bagged two Masters for its McGuigan Personal Reserve Oldman Shiraz 2019 and BVWC Farms Shiraz 2018. These two impressed the panel. Anty Fung thought the former “exudes a great typicity in an elegant style, accompanied with spiced red fruit notes and refined tannins.

The acidity at the finish further elevates the wine.” Meanwhile, Marjolaine Roblette Geres reckoned that the latter expression “showed a much more masculine profile, with depth, good length and long ageing potential”.

Tempus Two Uno Series, another stellar winery from the same company, was awarded a Gold. Coming with a price tag above HK$800, the Shiraz nonetheless expressed a typical New World style, redolent of red and black cherries but with great balance and elaborate style. De Bortoli, another Australian producer, shone in the under-HK$100 category.

Its Woodfired Shiraz proved surprisingly excellent value. Fung said: “The wine is really well knitted together, refined and complex. The winery has done a good job for this quality at such a price point.”

Going beyond Australia, the blind-tasting competition also saw some strong performers from other continents. Alpha Estate from Greece received a Silver for its S.M.X.. Comprising 60% Syrah, 20% Merlot and 20% indigenous variety Xinomavro, the blend displayed a mesmerising fresh and powerful aroma packed with cherries and spices, as Geres noted. Chilean Syrah also showed its quality in the competition.

Taking home two Silvers, Viña Casas del Bosque’s Syrah Gran Reserva and Casas del Bosque Casa Viva Gran Reserva Syrah were also the favourites of the panel. Fung liked the former for its juicy layers of blackcurrant, liqueur de cassis and blue fruit, and its well-balanced structure; while Geres, meanwhile, praised the latter highly, saying that it was a “perfect wine”, as she found its smooth and dynamic texture appealing, especially as a good food wine.

After the blind tasting was brought to an end and the labels were revealed, the judges were astonished by the overall quality of the entries, especially the fact that all of them were made in New World regions, or emerging countries such as Greece.

The Judges: Left to right – Jessica Ochoco, senior sales executive at Altaya Wines, Alice Liang, managing editor of the drinks business Asia, Florian Beaubouchez, sales director at Ponti Wine Cellars, Romain Loriot, founder and managing director at ThinkWine