Zaria Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2018 $25

I love how winemaker Bryce Edmonds has such devotion to merlot. He always lets the vintage speak for itself, which is why each new release, to me, is so surprising and interesting. The 2018 is new to the market, but tastes like it’s been in the bottle for years. Juicy dark berries (blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry) plum, black forest gateaux gateaux-y-ness and a softly-spiced, gently handled, oak backbone makes this an elegant, classically-styled merlot. You can taste the mineral edge injected by the deep, iron-rich soils of the Bridge Pa Triangle and that makes me a very happy girl.