Martinborough-based winery Kusuda has long been winning plaudits for its sublime pinot noirs, but recently its syrah has started stealing the limelight. The Kusuda Syrah 2010 was rated New Zealand’s top red (for wines other than pinot noir) in this month’s Gourmet Traveller Wine. The panel of expert wine tasters, who tasted all the wines blind, commented that it is “an enormously impressive wine. Rich dark berries and lovely nutmeg oak combine seamlessly and the tannins are beautifully balanced.” (Red Highlights, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Feb/March 2014)
The Kusuda Syrah 2010 reminds critics of the medium -bodied, cool-climate syrahs of Northern Rhone – a style also embraced with great success by Australian wineries like Clonakilla. As wine writer and panel member Huon Hooke remarked, it has “lovely cool-climate white pepper and spice aromatics. An elegant and medium-bodied wine with intense spice and fruit blossoming on the plate. Succulent and smooth with sweet-fruit richness, but not overdone. Great length. An outstanding wine!”
Kusuda has been making fine wines in Martinborough for more than 10 years. Situated about 90 kms east-northeast of Wellington in New Zealand’s North Island, Martinborough is also home to Ata Rangi, one of New Zealand’s most famous expressions of pinot noir.
The deep, free-draining alluvial gravels of the Martinborough terrace force the vines to dig deep for water, which coupled with unusually low levels of annual rainfall and a long, gentle growing season, create full flavour grapes and impart mineral qualities in the wines. These growing conditions have proven ideal for creating flavourful, complex pinot noirs, and now wineries like Kusuda are demonstrating that the terroir holds excellent potential for syrah as well.
Kusuda is run by Japanese-born Hiroyuki Kusuda, who cultivates approximately three hectares of vineyards – 1.6 hectares of pinot noir, 1.2 hectares of syrah and a small amount of riesling. Kusuda studied at the famed wine school of Geisenheim in Germany; hence the appeal of riesling.
He makes up to 10,000 bottles of high-end wine a year, 60 per cent of which is shipped to Japan with the rest being quickly snapped up in New Zealand,.. [Read More]