My notes on Obsidian Waiheke Island new releases…

Obsidian Reserve Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017 $48 The stylish, chablis-like elegance of this wine makes it a showstopper for me. I love the purity of fruit, intense citrus, and minerality on the mid-palate, peachy backbone and the dusting of subtle nutty notes on the finish. It’s a beautifully balanced example and I’m officially obsessed with […]

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Helmsman 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 of focus and drive. A Helmsman is […]

Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014 $50

This is Passage Rock’s flagship red. Using only the best looking and best behaved berries, the winemaking team have fashioned a deliciously dense and sultry wine, perfumed with bouquet garni herbs, dark cocoa, espresso and smoke. Ribsticking and robust to drink, it has dusty tannins, fresh fruit saturation and marathon-like length of flavour. Sip with: […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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