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, […]

Byrne Wines Little Brother Red 2016 $19

Here’s a toasty (and tasty) blend of syrah, viognier which also uses a splishy splash of chambourcin (shom-bore-sarn) to frisk up the flavour profile.  Northland has a knack for turning out softly styled, savoury, earthy-toned, plump reds that clear the nose and soothe the throat and this is one of those.  Light, plush and plenty […]

Mills Reef Bespoke Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2015 ($39.99)

After decades of delivering some of New Zealand’s most highly awarded wines, Tim Preston and his team have decided to let loose with the creative juices and put together some wines/blends that differ from their mainstream range. This blend of 63% cabernet sauvignon and 27% cabernet franc has a heft of dried herbs, pepper and […]

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

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