The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association have set up an Annual Vintage Selection (AVS) as a means to showcase the top wines from each vintage. The top 12 wines were selected independently by Andrew Caillard MW. The 2008 AVS contains 5 blended red wines and 7 Syrahs. Unison Syrah 2008 was chosen as one of the 12 wines. These wines were sent to key wine influencer's and media across the globe.
Review by Jo Burzynska, NZ Herald June 2nd 2011
Unison's Syrah is fragrant and sleek, with aromas of spice, white pepper and leather, leading to a silky and savoury palate in which notes of mineral and spice mingle with fresh red and berry fruit.
Rating 91/100 Wine Advocate, Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com
The 2007 Syrah has a lovely nose of blackberry, loganberry, earth and a touch of cooked meat – very well defined and with time developing and intriguing “patisserie” element – vanilla pod, or meringues! The palate is full-bodied, well balanced with ripe chewy tannins. Very focused on the vanilla tinged finish. Perhaps they could have refrained from the oak a little, but it is very seductive towards the finish. Excellent. Drink 2010-2016.
Unison’s well-tended site on Gimblett Gravels regularly gets the best out of Syrah, as this concentrated, chunky rendition attests. Lip-smacking dark fruit, chocolate and liquorice flavours gallop freely.
Warren Barton's Christmas Wine Guide 2008 - Top 100 wine
"The ownership of this small but distinguished Hawke's Bay producer might have changed but the quality has not. An ample, spicy/earthy wine with a Kath and Kim ("look at me, look at me") nose. Overflowing with flavour, character and class.
Gourmet Traveller Wine Rating 95/100
Hawkes Bay winemakers are divided in their preferences for the 2006 and 2005 vintages. I prefer Unison's '06 Syrah over thier very good '05. It has powerful red and dark berry flavours with a Rhone-like black pepper and a hint of floral characters. It's dense, dry and delicious
Winewise Vol 24 No 4. October 2008. International Shiraz Tasting
A blind tasting of 24 top Shiraz/Syrah's from NZ, Aus, US and France, by 16 top judges. Judged as outstanding and awarded gold medals by 8 judges. "...a very bright, lively wine of obvious cool climate origins. It's very spicy and comparatively delicate, but the oak is beautifully integrated and the palate is long." Ranked 5=
Rating 92/100 eRobertParker.com
"...The palate is very finely balanced with fine, though chewy tannins. Dense structure. Damson, boysenberry, a touch of game towards the finish. Moderate length. Very fine....." (April 2008)
Recommended in Cuisine July 2008
"Unison's boutique, hands on approach has produced a weighty, concentrated wine, brimming with berry fruit and spice and an underlying earthy character."
5 stars "… has noble colour and a fragrant, complex bouquet, slightly earthy, spicy and brambly. It's a fleshy, highly concentrated and savoury wine, sweet-fruited and lush, with powerful plum/spice flavours. Lovely drinking now onwards …" (Michael Cooper Wine Guide 2008)
Gold Medal (Air NZ Wine Awards)
Trophy - Champion Syrah (Air NZ Wine Awards)
Trophy - Reserve wine of the show (Air NZ Wine Awards)
"… Congratulations to you both on winning … You can be justifiably proud of your achievement … Your tiny winery is truly the stand out operation in a subregion, Gimblett Gravels, that has done tremendously well considering its small size. Well done and best wishes for continued success in the future." (Hon Rick Barker, Member of Parliament)
5 stars "… densely coloured, with powerful coloured, with powerful, deliciously ripe flavours … warm and supple, with lovely fruit sweetness …" (Michael Cooper Wine Guide 2007)
"Dark enough to stop the light, this is a strapping wine from HB Gimblett Gravels, where grace and power are in step all the way …" Recommended (John Saker, Living, NZ Herald)
Syrah 2002 (first release)
"Outstanding" – International tri-nation tasting (USA/Australia/NZ) Winewise Volume 20
"… their 2002 Syrah is a dark, dense and dramatic statement …" (Charles Gill, on wine)
"Top 10 NZ Syrahs" (Viva - NZ Herald)