In a nutshell: Delicious ripe and juicy Rhône-style Syrah from New Zealand's Hawkes Bay.
The lowdown: Generous flavours are the hallmark here. The ripe red berries are almost, but not quite jammy, and the softness silkiness on the tongue is very appealing. The well-judged acidity gives it just the right balance and hints of woody spices and peppers lend it the sophisticated touch you'd expect. Hawkes Bay is probably the region in New Zealand that makes the best Syrah, and you can certainly see that here.
Sir George Fistonich is a standout name in New Zealand wine, it's the industry in which the earned his knighthood. Villa Maria, one of the country's foremost wineries, is his baby. It was in the mid-1980's that a Hawke's Bay estate that had seen better days caught his attention. He acquired it and set about extensive renovations to create Esk Valley as a boutique operation making premiums reds and elegant whites. Their top cuvée 'The Terraces' is one of New Zealand's most prestigious reds. These days they have vineyards in both Marlborough and Hawkes Bay from where they produce a highly regarded range from mid-range to top-end.
When to drink: Try with grilled vegetables and meats, lamb in particular, and it works really well with wild game dishes.