Pukeora Estate Ruahine Range ‘The Benches’ 2013 $28

From what was heralded as the ‘vintage of the century’ comes this powerfully built blend of merlot, malbec, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from the limestone-laden hills of Central Hawke’s Bay. Sweet saddle-leather, pepper, mocha, hints of prune, liquorice and showing bold, juicy tannins – it’s a muscular, sinewy sip that has loads of life in […]

The Regent of Tantallon Limited Edition Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013 $40

From what was hailed as the red wine vintage of the century for Hawke’s Bay comes this silky, slinky, berry- and spice-saturated blend from fruit sourced from the Tantallon vineyard in Bridge Pa. The deep, iron-rich ‘red gravels’ inject depth and minerality to the fruit, and the wine shows vanilla, smoke, olive, and sweet cocoa […]

Black Barn Hawke’s Bay Merlot Malbec Cabernet 2014 $33 (4.5 stars)

Winemaker Dave McKee is like a silent assassin. He just quietly shuffles about in Black Barn’s ridiculously tiny winery each year, never saying boo about how the wine is tasting until he’s fully confident that it’s in the bottle safely – and even then he doesn’t give anything away. Fleshy, plum-saturated, seriously smooth and bursting […]

Redmetal Vineyards Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Franc 2015 $19

Crafted from fruit grown in the iron-rich, red soils of the Bridge Pa Triangle, this is a gentle, easy-like-Sunday-morning red wine showing attractive red berry aromatics, a dusting of cocoa, plum and bay leaf. It’s a soft, quaffable blend that’ll please the crowds. Need a red wine for that wedding coming up? This could be […]

Te Mania Three Brothers Nelson Merlot/Malbec/Cab Franc 2015 $24.99

Winemaker Steve Gill has outdone himself here, creating a cheek-slappingly good Bordeaux-style red blend from supremely ripe Nelson fruit. Heaving at the seams with dense, dark berryfruit, juicy Christmas pudding spices, smoky oak, ultra-ripe berryfruit and red apple. I’m guilty of not thinking of Nelson when it comes to sourcing bold, merlot-based wines – but […]

Maimai Creek Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2013 $25

Mal McLennan has been operating his vineyards in Meeanee and Bridge Pa since 1994, growing grapes for other people. His fruit was in such high demand, that he decided in 2002 to have a crack at making his own wine and Maimai Creek was born. Mal is extremely hands-off with his grapes and this blend […]

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2015 $22.70 (4 stars)

Fans of softly structured, fleshy, fabulous merlot-dominated reds can kick off their shoes, flick on the telly and pour a glass of this and be confident that it’ll deliver in every respect. Dark red fruits, peppery, cocoa and dried herb characters, deliciously dusty tannins and a long, fresh finish make this a must sip with […]

Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2015 $42.99 (5 stars)

With a name taken from an old Sacred Hill vineyard known as ‘stoney broke’, the Brokenstone is now considered one of New Zealand’s most iconic merlot-based reds.  The 2015 is a blend of merlot, malbec, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc and it’s absolutely sensational.  Matured for 19 months in French oak, layers of cedar, […]

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu Merlot Blend 2014 $27 (4.5 stars)

If red meat is on the menu this Christmas, then tell your guests to grab a goblet of this and giddy up!  The rich, velvety blackfruited texture of this merlot-dominant wine wraps itself around the palate in a spicy, cocoa-driven cloak (or ‘te kahu’ in Maori) and leaves glorious, festively furry tannins on the finish. […]

Main Divide Waipara Merlot Cabernet 2014

Main Divide Waipara Merlot Cabernet 2014 $20 ★★★½ If you thought only the North Island could create good Bordeaux-style reds then best you wrap your gums around this southern sip pronto.  Highly fruity on the nose and all manner of raspberry, boysenberry and spicy, cocoa-like characters crash across the palate.  Yet the mouthfeel and finish […]

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