Te Motu Onetangi Valley Waiheke Island 2012 $99

Dominated by cabernet sauvignon and fleshed out with merlot and cabernet franc, all grown on ancient soils in the heart of Waiheke’s Onetangi Valley, this elegantly savoury blend has six years of being a sleeping beauty and now it’s ready to roar. Cherry, prune and blueberry characters are cloaked in leather, cedary oak, smoky notes […]

Hãhã Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2017 $17.99 (3.5 stars)

Brand spanky and bursting with berries, this merlot is lighter in style than the previous vintage, but has a silky, spice-driven backbone and a warming, cuddly, savoury sippability. It’s a soft, supple, crowd pleaser of a wine with buckets of berries to put smile on everyone’s’ face. Available in supermarkets everywhere.

San Pedro Gato Negro Valle Central Merlot 2016 $16.99

Very floral and leafy, bay and thyme on the nose alongside pepper and smoky, molasses and liquorice-like characters on the nose and palate.  Warming and good as a winter crowd pleaser.  www.glengarrywines.co.nz  

Linden Estate Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2014 $50.00

In 2010 Trevor Shepherd talked his way into a job at Linden, where for four years he toiled (unpaid mostly) to restore the vines and get the decrepit, but legendary winery back up to scratch. It’s clearly worked. There’s a bold, fleshy plum and cocoa character to this wine, complete with grippy tannins, smoky warmth […]

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 […]

Renato Nelson Merlot 2014 $27.90

Intensely lifted and floral, this shows plum blossom and black forrest essences which ooze through on the nose and palate. Highly youthful acidity and fine, emery-like tannins lead to a ripe yet ultimately elegant and very Bordeaux-like Merlot. It’s a sophisticated example from Nelson, (a region WAY more famous for its pinot noir, chardonnays and […]

Oak Estate Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015 $23 (4.5 stars)

Scented with boysenberry, bay leaf, blueberries, pepper and leather, there’s also a lick of vanilla which wraps itself around big, muscular, pumping tannins, making this a definite new favourite in my house! Dry, yet curvy and complex, it’s a merlot with excellent concentration and sippability. Try it before it disappears! www.oakestatewines.co.nz

Doubtless Bay Northland Merlot 2010 $22.00

How often is it that we get to taste merlot that’s had a decent stretch of time inside the bottle. Time enough for all that nervous teenage fruit and spice to actually settle into a calm kind of companionship. All edges and elbows have smoothed over, all that youthful hot air is now a warm […]

Smoking Loon California Merlot 2014 $21.90 (4 stars)

The glittery cap immediately appeals to my wannabe glamazon, while the intricate silver, cigar-smoking loon bird motif is semi-hypnotic. On the nose it’s incredibly fruity, chocka with raspberry, red plum and ultra-easy spices, sweet fruit and chocolate. If you’re still reeling from Miles’ rant in the movie ‘Sideways’ where he announces “I’m leaving. I am […]

  Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2014 $32.90 (4.5 stars)

Incredibly bright on the nose, bursting with ripe boysenberry, plum cherry and sweetly spiced, smoky notes.  Here’s a deeply flavoured, rich and satisfyingly fruity blend, with layers of leather and cocoa carrying through to the finish.  I love the refreshing, vibrant acidity and its gripping, yet supple tannins.  It’s a very precise yet plush and […]

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