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, […]

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu Merlot Blend 2014 $27 (4.5 stars)

If red meat is on the menu this Christmas, then tell your guests to grab a goblet of this and giddy up!  The rich, velvety blackfruited texture of this merlot-dominant wine wraps itself around the palate in a spicy, cocoa-driven cloak (or ‘te kahu’ in Maori) and leaves glorious, festively furry tannins on the finish. […]

Main Divide Waipara Merlot Cabernet 2014

Main Divide Waipara Merlot Cabernet 2014 $20 ★★★½ If you thought only the North Island could create good Bordeaux-style reds then best you wrap your gums around this southern sip pronto.  Highly fruity on the nose and all manner of raspberry, boysenberry and spicy, cocoa-like characters crash across the palate.  Yet the mouthfeel and finish […]

Nikau Point Select Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Nikau Point Select Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $13.99 ★★½ The Nikau Point brand has recently been given a spruce up, meaning it looks a tad more stylish on the table, which is always a good thing with a sub-$15 bottle.  This is a lightweight red that has layers of dried herb, berry and spice […]

Snapper Rock Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013

Snapper Rock Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013 $16.95 ★★★★ Well I for one did a little dance after tasting this wine because not only is it bright and berry-stacked on the nose, but it’s loaded with plum, boysenberry and attractive vanilla, spice and smoky notes on the palate.  It’s a warm, cuddly, silky and slippery […]

Alpha Domus The Navigator 2013

Alpha Domus The Navigator 2013 $30 ★★★★½ Blackberry, boysenberry, dark quava and intensely aromatic spice notes burst from the glass. Comprised of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, this classic Bordeaux blend displays a delicious vein of dried herb and cocoa buoyed by fresh juicy acidity and good grip on the finish. […]

Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 $19 ★★★★½ The gold medals are already swinging off the neck of this wine crafted by the ridiculously talented Hugh Crichton.  A blend of 57 % merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon, 7% malbec and 1% cabernet franc, this wine hits that sweet spot between delivering muscular, meaty, dark […]

Esk Valley Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2014

Esk Valley Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2014 $19 ★★★★★ Super-glossy and garnet-black in the glass, this seriously-overdelivers-for-the-price wine has racked up an impressive pedigree of awards at major wine shows in recent years.  I love the aroma of soy, blackcurrant leaf, dried herbs and carob.  Black plum, biscuit oak and a backbone of […]

Sam Hunt Hawke’s Bay Merlot Malbec 2014

Sam Hunt Hawke’s Bay Merlot Malbec 2014 $24.95 ★★★ “Winter is a warm hearth…” is a line from Hunt’s poem Rainbows and that’s exactly where I’d imagine you should enjoy this wine; either that, or with juicy, fatty snarlers sizzled and oh-so-slightly charred on the BBQ.  Dark magenta-black in the glass and showing pepper, prune, […]

Craggy Range Sophia 2013

Craggy Range Sophia 2013 $72.95 ★★★★★ This rose and cedar-scented red is a blend of 62% merlot, 19% cabernet sauvignon, 18% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Juicy and concentrated, this wine offers exotic aromas of bitter cocoa, sun-dried herbs and dense, dark berry fruit. There’s also an instant hit of warmth and woodsmoke, graphite, […]

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