2018 Bilancia La Collina Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

2018 Bilancia La Collina Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand



Bilancia is the private label for winemakers Warren Gibson (the legendary winemaker of Trinity Hill) and his partner Lorraine Leheny.

La Collina, a rare hillside vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels subregion of Hawke’s Bay, has earned a place on syrah lover’s shopping lists by producing a string of impressive wines for nearly two decades.

The soon to be released 2019 La Collina just received 99 points by James Suckling and was ranked #5 in his 2021 Top 100 New Zealand Wines of the Year.   Expect a price increase and very limited availability.   We have managed to procure a small amount of the excellent 2018 La Collina from the US importer, and a promise for the 2019.

The 2018 La Collina is an extremely compelling wine for its cashmere like texture, and beautiful, complex floral aromas.  There is truly a pure transparency found in this bottle expressing the unique terroir of Hawke’s Bay-Gimblett Gravels, but then this is more probable with cool clime Syrah.  Noteworthy is the relatively “low” 12.5% alcohol which can be indicative of vine stress, and the extended hang time necessary for sufficient brix-ripening for an optimum harvest.  The result should be greater aromas and flavor development, but most important is a balanced and harmonious wine, thus the label!  Perhaps like the scales of justice, which symbolize the balance between truth and fairness, the final goal of an honest justice system is also the ultimate achievement for grape grower and winemaker.

“There wasn’t a La Collina bottled in 2017 but the 2018 La Collina Syrah is a ridiculously floral, perfumed successor to the terrific 2016. While other Hawke’s Bay Syrah can marry soaring peppery spice with ripe fruit, the 2018 La Collina is more jasmine, violets—maybe even roses—and subtle spices, all seamlessly blended with ripe red berries. It’s just medium-bodied (labeled at 12.5% alcohol), but it’s concentrated and silky in texture, with a long, elegant finish and great inner-mouth perfume. It should drink well for at least a decade. 2020-2030” – 94 points, Wine Advocate (April 16, 2020) – JC

“Aromas of black tea, strong herbs and a very intensely spicy edge, as well as redcurrant, pomegranate and red plum. The palate has tart, succulent style with sleek tannin, carrying bright red-plum and cherry flavors. Needs to settle. Try from 2025.” – 94 points, James Suckling (February 6, 2021)




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