Cannonball California Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ★★★½

As Californian as tans, teeth and tiny dogs, this is a bold, bouncy cabernet that dials the spice and plushness up to high gear.  Named after what we kiwi’s call the ‘bomb’, one sip of this and you’ll definitely be in the deep end – with a cabernet crush that is.  Made from fruit grown […]

Blank Canvas Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014 $45 ★★★★

Impenetrably inky in the glass, with a super-sexy sheen, I just wanted to devour it regardless of how it stacks up in the aroma and taste stakes.  Often, to give syrah an aromatic boost, a splash of viognier is added to syrah (a la Côte Rôtie). However this peppery upstart has had 7.5% gruner veltliner […]

Ernesto Catena Padrillos Malbec 2014 $24

A label shouldn’t sway one, but merry-go-round ponies scampering on a pale blue background?  Who can resist?  ‘Padrillos’ means ‘stallion’ in Spanish, named after the wild herds that appeared in the dreams of Argentine winemaker Ernesto Catena.  Grown under the searing Mendoza sun, this Malbec oozes fresh plum, intense blackberry and lavender alongside concentrated, ripe […]

Two Hands Angels Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 $39

Immediately on the nose here’s a classic, juicy, meaty and spice-hefty wine that boasts bucketloads of bright berries and cocoa characters in the mouth as well.  For a vibrant, elegant, substantial shiraz that also leaves fine, chewy tannins on the finish – here’s your winner. Sip with: slow-cooked beef cheeks

Escarpment Pahi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 $65

The fruit that goes into Pahi comes from 30 year old vines growing on the tiny ‘McReanor’ block on Princess Street in Martinborough.  Maturity is key with pinot noir, and under the wizard-like guidance of Larry McKenna (or McPinot to his mates) the wine bursts with mixed spice, rhubarb, black tea, cocoa and sandalwood notes.  […]

Sileni Exceptional Vintage Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2013 $70

Hawke’s Bay could easily prove itself a powerhouse pinot region if wines like this become the norm.  The silty clay and gravel soils of their vineyards have produced an intensely concentrated, pot-pourri scented pinot that unleashes a tsunami of red fruits, earthy spices, tea and rosehip flavours.  Seductive and saucy. Sip with: lamb steaks and […]

Mt Difficulty Inspiration Cuvée Pinot Noir 2013 $95

Hang on to those medal-winning memories by treating yourself to this limited edition, one-off pinot created by Rio Olympic team sponsor Mt Difficulty.  Sourced from some of the oldest vineyards in Bannockburn, it’s a sublime marriage of cherries, cocoa-dusted raspberries, ribbon-like tannins, soft spices and succulence on the finish.  It’s outstanding. Sip with: roast duck […]

Heartland Directors Cut Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2013 $45 ★★★★

With surnames like Tillbrook, Collett and Glaetzer behind this wine, you know it’s been made by talented wee things.  Slick and glossy in the glass and unveiling wafts of tobacco, pepper, dark berries and that smell of ancient Drizabone coats hanging in the woodshed – it’s completely unputdownable (that’s a technical term).  Fresh spices merge […]

Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 $33 ★★★★

If there’s one thing Jules Taylor knows how to do (other than being superwoman) it’s how to craft solid, character-packed pinot noir.  Here’s a highly refined, savoury-edged example, with a core of cherry and black doris plum, vanilla and baking spices.  Slippery, succulent and with a soft, smoky finish, it’s sexy. Sip with: lamb tagine […]

Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 $65 ★★★★★

Let’s just get it out there.  I was well and truly wowed from the first sip.  Just 12 barrels were made of this berry and spice-soaked cabernet crafted by Hugh Crichton and his team.  Stitched together with smoke, caramelised oak and dried thyme, the palate is also awash with juicy, plush and supremely elegant layers […]

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