Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $69.99 (5 stars)

Impenetrably inky in the glass, brooding and stormy and saturated with tobacco leaf, sandalwood, Christmas cake spices and cocoa, this is my favourite of the Library Release wines.  The mouthfeel is elegant, slippery and edged with an earthy grip around a core of dark berryfruit.  Love it! www.villamaria.co.nz

Unison Gimblett Gravels Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010 $57 (4 stars)

Maturing nicely, this classic Gimblett Gravels cabernet oozes bouquet garni aromas, cocoa, mint and graphite alongside a squeak of vanilla and blackberry.  The acidity is still right up front, while the tannin layers are softening into a support structure as opposed to being a chewy-dry mouthful.  Savoury, peppery, leathery notes show themselves on the finish […]

VIGNERONS DE BUZET BARON D’ ALBRET ROUGE 2010 $35 (4 star)

Immediate aromas of coffee grinds, cocoa and ripe plum all osmose onto the palate in a wave of vanilla-soaked red fruits, medicinal spices, velvety tannins and a woolly, wonderfully dry mouthfeel. A cracker of a Bordeaux blend where Vignerons de Buzet is the union of winegrowers and employees who decided to take their future in […]

Esk Valley The Hillside Hawke’s Bay Malbec Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 $69

Esk Valley’s ‘The Terraces’ is a magical blend of fruit grown in a tiny, 28 year old terraced vineyard overlooking the winery.  Occasionally there are stunning parcels of wine which don’t make it into the final blend and winemaker Gordon Russell has decided to create this, a sister blend called Hillside.  Rich, powerful and erupting […]

Ca’ Di Rajo Marino 2010 $46 ★★★★½

Italian cabernet sauvignon can be intensely fruity and this example from Ca’ di Rajo, grown on the banks of the river Piave is exactly that.  I love the dark plum and boysenberry characters which merge with tobacco leaf, vanilla, pepper and violets.  Nicely structured tannins elongate the savoury flavours and combine to create a stunning […]

Hopes Grove Hawke’s Bay Silver Lining Syrah 2010 ★★★★

Deeply saturated, glossy and dark, here’s an intensely spicy syrah showing hints of smoke and leather. Six years in the bottle has borne violets, fresh pepper and gamey characters on the palate and a finish loaded with bay leaf, black tea and earthy cocoa characters. Grown in the limestone loveliness of Hawke’s Bay’s lesser-known sub-region […]

Quartz Reef Central Otago Methode Traditionnelle 2010

Quartz Reef Central Otago Methode Traditionnelle 2010 $40 ★★★★ Produced organically and biodynamically by Rudi Bauer down in Bendigo, this southern star has soft, smoky, flinty aromas and a rich, nutty, marshmallow-like texture in the mid palate.  Very precise and cleansing it is too. www.vinofino.co.nz  

The Willows Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010

The Willows Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010 $34 ★★★★ Deeply meaty on the nose and palate, this is definitely more on the savoury side for shiraz and way less jammy than most.  In fact, there’s a distinct roasting pan, gravy-like richness to this wine that oozes personality and depth. It also has good, solid acidity to […]

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2010

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2010 $85 ★★★★★ My first taste of this wine was a few years before the millennium and back then I was told the name represented something that led the way that stood ahead of the pack and steered you in the right direction.  A Helmsman is released only in years when the […]

Craggy Range Sophia 2010

Craggy Range Sophia 2010 $73 ★★★★★ Sophia is Craggy Range’s flagship example of how the classic Bordeaux varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot can be sewn together to create a sublime red wine right here on our shores.  Scented with anise, blackcurrant, dried herbs and gamey, earthy notes; in the mouth […]

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