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

Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $69.99 (5stars)

Eight years on from harvest and this straight cabernet still bright, buoyant and incredibly fresh.  I love how plucky and precise the fruit is, the berry and plum definition is just lovely and an injection of smoky cedar really fleshes out this delicious experience.  This is great kiwi cabernet right here and it’s a treat […]

Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009 $69.99 (4.5 stars)

Purple-black and gorgeously glossy in the glass, this is a deliciously dense, berry-saturated cabernet blend edged with bouquet garni herbs and cocoa characters.  Softly peppered, fleshy and plump in the mouth and boasting a line of black olive, bay and smoke, it’s a big blend with real pluck and personality. www.villamaria.co.nz

Clearview Estate Hawke’s Bay Old Olive Block 2015 $39 (4 stars)

Here’s a rumpty, ribsticking blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and merlot from talented winemaking duo Matt Kirby and Rob Bregman.  It’s inky-dark and boosted with aromas of blackcurrant leaf, cocoa powder, intense cherry and berry notes and a pinch of pepper.  Succulent and juicy to drink, there’s a line of herbaceousness that cloaks […]

Soho Zabeel Blue Blood Waiheke Island Reserve Blend 2014 $138 (5 stars)

Excruciatingly gorgeous to drink in that it’s torture knowing that your glass will eventually end.  I love the lift of vanilla, pepper, dark chocolate and intense boysenberry layers in this merlot syrah malbec blend by the talented team over at Soho.  Dense, dark berries, smoke, cured meats and solid, dusty oak creates supreme definition of […]

St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $55.99 (4.5 stars)

Here’s a gorgeously glossy, eucalypt and herb-scented little star that’s classic Coonawarra through and through.  Blackcurrant, white pepper, smoky, cedar notes, loads of florals and a burst of black olive makes itself known on the finish.  It’s a masculine, complex example that’s leathery, earthy and definitely drinking nicely now. www.firstglass.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 […]

Liberty Wines Les Vignes de L’eglise Merlot Grenache IGP Pays D‘OC 2014 $23 (3.5 stars)

IGP means ‘indication géographique protégée’ which is one of the new French classification terms.  It indicates some of the best value for money brands in the land, and I’ll tell you what, this is indeed a lithe little lovely from the Languedoc.  It’s not often you get a blend of merlot and grenache in your […]

Yering Station Little Yering Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier 2012 $23 (4 stars)

I just love it when shiraz is tizzied up with a splash of viognier.  Just a tiny amount of viognier can elevate the dark fruit and spice aromatics of shiraz into floral realms of freshness that you’ve got to experience.  I also love that this wine presents in a slimline, elegant bottle – which just […]

Crazy By Nature Cosmo Red 2015 $26 (3.5 star)

Grown biodynamically by James Millton in Gisborne, this ‘field blend’ of Malbec, Syrah and a splash of Viognier is produced using special herbal, mineral and animal preparations and looking to the laws of nature. No herbicide, insecticide, systemic fungicide or soluble fertilizer was used, also no cultured yeasts or bacteria came within coo-ee of the […]

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