Single clone syrah from Ash Ridge

Ash Ridge winemaker Lauren Swift and Ash Ridge owner Chris Wilcock (Photo: )

Ash Ridge is small Hawke’s Bay producer that draws its grapes mainly from the Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District. They recently sent me some syrah samples from 2015, including their premium Vintner’s Reserve label and two wines under the new “Doppio” brand. Chris Wilcock the winery owner explained that “Doppio” means “double” in Italian, as in “doppio expresso”.

For years, Ash Ridge have grown two clones of syrah in their own Cardoness vineyard. Wines from both have traditionally been blended, although Chris explained that they were intrigued by the difference between the wine made from MS (mixed selection) and the Chave clones, so decided to select the best barrel of each and produce 228 twin packs to celebrate both the quality and diversity of the two wines.

2014 was the first release of the Doppio wines, which will only be made in “exceptional years” and have been produced (but not released) in 2015 and 2016 but not in 2017.

I marginally preferred the Ash Ridge 2014 Doppio MS Syrah, the more elegant and fragrant wine of the two. It’s fair to say that the wine is more accessible now, which helped give it the edge, although it may not have the cellaring prospects of its twin. I particularly loved the wine’s very fine texture and lengthy finish.

Chris disagreed with me, preferring the bigger, more robust Ash Ridge 2014 Doppio Chave Syrah. It is certainly a gutsier wine that needs cellaring and also benefits from decanting. I re-tasted both wines with food and after the benefit of a little air time, the Doppio Chave impressed me even more. However, it is my policy not to change scores after the tasting to create a level playing field.

Both wines are available in a twin-pack from the winery, retail price is NZD $150.

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