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

Ka Tahi Rangatira Gimblett Gravels Three Barrel Reserve Malbec 2015 $30

Glossy, inky dark and saturated with buckets of berries, vanilla, soft smoky notes and juicy, fleshy, savoury layers make this wine a contender for ribsticking rock star of the week for me.  Gentle, textural tannins and attractive tension between the acidity and alcohol (only 13.1% btw) make this Hawke’s Bay version of the Argentinean classic […]

Unison Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2015 $55 (4.5stars)

This wine may be from a ‘monster’ vintage, a vintage you’d expect to produce exclusively big, alcoholic, over-extracted wines.  Yet here we have elegance ‘wine-on-ified’.  Fresh pepper and vibrant plum and boysenberry backstroke through waves of vanilla and dried herbs.  The tannins are solid, yet stretchy and supple and it’s a wine that the team […]

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2014 $32.90 (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, 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 generous […]

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2015 $37.90 (4.5 stars)

I love the lift of pepper, plum, cocoa and buckets of fruit cake spices this wine possesses.  It’s beautifully balanced with smooth, cuddly undertones and elegant, finely-grained tannins. Fleshy, succulent and seriously good. Clearly the team at Saint Clair in Marlborough are now experts in dealing with smoulderingly good fruit from Hawke’s Bay’s Gimblett Gravels […]

Unison Gimblett Gravels Reserve Merlot 2012 $30 (4stars)

I used to work on a raspberry farm when I was in high school (loved it btw) and every time I sniff this wine it takes me back to those days of repeatedly sticking my face inside a leafy, fruit-scented canopy to harvest those plump, juicy berries. Fresh, spicy, with layers of plum-rubbed leather and […]

Craggy Range Gimblet Gravels Chardonnay 2015 $31.95

This is a sexy example of how restraint can be applied to quality Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay fruit.  People assume that because a wine is from the rockstar region of the Gimblett Gravels that it’s going to be a monster.  Yet this wine proves the opposite is just as impressive.  It shows really artistry at play, […]

Beach House Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Malbec 2014 $25

2014 was a slightly cooler in the ‘Gravels than 2013, and that’s good for blended reds like this.  They’re more likely to retain elegance, freshness and that all-important fragrance-factor.  There’s a lift of dried herb, blackberry and classic sweet tobacco, cocoa and violet notes into the warming, meaty mouthfeel. Sip with: smoked venison salami www.beachhouse.co.nz

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