Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Guido In Velvet Pants Huapai Montepulciano 2014 $26.60 (4.5 stars)

Dubbed ‘Guido’ after winemaker Simon Nunn’s work mate and super-cute Italian greyhound, whereas the ‘velvet pants’ bit has something to do with Carmelite nuns likening this smooth, ‘westie’ version of the famous Italian variety to a slippery son of God if you believe the rumours. With its intense berries, spice, liquorice layers and fuzzy, warming, […]

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 […]

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Grenache 2016 $25 (4 stars)

This is literally the only grenache being produced in New Zealand, so best you get amongst it before its all gone! Crafted from 16-year-old vines growing in the company’s Ngakirikiri Vineyard, it’s a heaving monster of a wine, rammed with floral intensity and spiced berry and cherry flavours. The alcohol is 14.5% and its heat […]

Sileni Estates Pacemaker Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2014 $40 (4 stars)

Prepare for a bevvy of blossoms, boisterous berry fruit and buckets of dried herbs and spices on the nose and palate of this intense cabernet franc. Bay leaf, liquorice, black tea and sou bois lushness are all jostling for attention in the glass so sit back and enjoy the battle. If this is your pacemaker […]

Ash Ridge Doppio MS & Chave Bridge Pa Syrah 2014 $150 (twin pack)

I’ve never featured two wines in the same review before, but it’s the only way to tackle these bottles of salubrious syrah from Bridge Pa, in what I think is a first for New Zealand. Dubbed ‘Doppio’ after the Italian word for ‘double’, Ash Ridge have opted to keep their two clones of syrah separate […]

Hãhã Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 $27.99 (3.5 stars)

If you’re all about juiciness in your wine, then this is the sip for you. Soft tamarillo, cherry and rhubarb flavours combine to create a spicy, fruit-fest in your mouth. Savoury elements add a hint of earthy complexity to the wine, and fine-grained tannins give a hint of chew to the finish. www.hahawine.co.nz  

Le Bessole Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2015 $39.90 (5 stars)

Here’s a cheek-slappingly gorgeous blend of Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella and Rossignola from the good fold at Igino Accordini in Verona. Inky-dark and glossy in the glass, it’s perfumed with plum, red apple, earthy, caramelised oak and dusted with a smorgasbord of spices. Fresh and frisky and chock full of black cherries on the finish, […]

Amisfield RKV Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 $120

When winemaker Dr Stephanie Lambert decides to take a batch of fruit from Amisfield’s lean, bony, loessial Rocky Knoll Vineyard to create a wine she feels is exceptional, then you should take notice. The RKV was created in 2007 and now it’s a Central Otago icon. Wild strawberry, cherry, dried thyme and tea-like aromas lead […]

Ruby Bay Vineyard Captain’s Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2014 $28 (4 stars)

This little cracker from the sunshine capital is maturing into a bit of a spice-fest indeed. Edged with rhubarb, tamarillo and masses of cherry, it’s a lovely, tangy pinot noir with freshness and friskiness. Email: info@rubybayvineyard.co.nz to buy.  

Leveret Estate Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014 $30 (4.5 stars)

With syrah vineyards in Hawke’s Bay’s key regions, the winemaking team at Leveret can pick and choose where to source the best fruit. 2014 was a cracker for syrah, it was slightly cooler, meaning the wines were less bolshy, more elegant, stylish, self assured and good to go for years and years. Clean, precise dark […]

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