Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Merlot Franc 2015 $80 (5 stars)

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. This new vintage lives up to its reputation for focus and drive. A Helmsman is […]

Ash Ridge Premium Cabernet Merlot 2016 $31 (4 stars)

From what’s fast becoming known as a very elegant vintage in Hawke’s Bay, comes a cabernet dominant blend that reflects the iron-rich, red gravels of the Bridge Pa triangle beautifully. Made by the super-talented Lauren Swift, this bold, spicy blend has hefty red fruited aromatics, hints of smoke and soy and boasts a long, stylishly […]

Crossroads Winemakers Collection Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2012 $42.99

You don’t scoop Gold medals and trophies at international competitions just by turning up do you? If you’re this cracker of a Bordeaux blend crafted by the legendary Miles Dineen, you opt to crash across the palate and make a monster of an impression. Bold, savoury black olive, soy and dark berry flavour concentration leads […]

Tironui Above & Beyond Hawke’s Bay Malbec/Merlot/Cabernet 2014 $35.00

Malbec has the most incredible, deep,inky purple colour, which gives gloss to this deeply complex, dried herb, bitter cocoa and blackberry-soaked Cahors-style blend. The stunningly terraced Tironui Vineyard is perched right at the top of the Sugar Loaf Hill, overlooking The Mission in Taradale and captures the all-day sun. This is a big, tannic red […]

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 […]

Element Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2015 $25.00

Brand spanking new from the newest producer in New Zealand’s most famous red wine growing district, here’s an intensely lifted and fragrant, floral and spicy wine that also oozes blackberry and cocoa notes. I love the peppery liquorice and dried rosemary flavours on the mid palate which merge with bold, dark fruit, muscular, meaty tannins […]

Secco-Bertani Original Vintage Edition 2014 $43

A classic-yet-powerful Veronese blend of 80% corvina, 10% sangiovese, and 5% each of syrah and cabernet sauvignon, this is a monster-good wine. It’s a new arrival and there’s precious little available, so you’ll need to jump quick. Bursting with violet, cranberry, pomegranate, and cherry aromatics, plus redcurrant, cedar and a snifter of cola on the […]

Bosco del Grillo Governo All’Uso Toscana IGT 2015 $22

Even though it’s basically a Chianti at 80% sangiovese, because the Bosco team blended in 10% merlot, 5% cabernet sauvignon and 5% colorino grapes means the wine has to slap on the IGT tag instead. But they ain’t ‘bovvered,’ and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an elegant, generous wine with lashings of violets, spice, and […]

Perelada Jardins Blended Red 2015 $19.99

Named in homage to the beautifully perfumed gardens (jardins) that legendary Parisienne landscape designer Francois Duvilliers designed for Count Perelada’s Spanish castle in the mid 1800’s. This curious blend of Monastrell Grenache, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is a floral, spice-fest with an earthy, truffle-like, dried herb edge to the deep berry layers in the […]

Maimai Creek Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2013 $23.99

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 […]

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