Karikari Estate Toa Iti Merlot Cabernet Franc Tannat 2016/2017

Karikari Estate Toa Iti Merlot Cabernet Franc Tannat 2016/2017 $30 I had high expectations.  Sadly the first sip sent me into some sort of cell of self pity.  This blend is rough, thin, weedy, prematurely brown in the glass and all kinds of wrong.  I keep an open mind about multi-vintage blending because sometimes it […]

Karikari Estate Northland Chardonnay 2014 $45 (5 stars)

Creamy, creamy and creamy! Prepare for a tidal wave of tropical gloriousness to break and crash across the nose and palate. Sweet fruit concentration, macadamia and cashew complexity to create a butterscotchy bodaciousness that’ll blindside you. Maturing beautifully, fresh and frolicsome, caramelised and concentrated. Absolutely gorgeous. www.karikariestate.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 […]

Holdfast Estate Rosé 2017 $27

At the age of 16, Lachlan (Lockie) McLeod decided Dargaville needed wine in its life, and so he set about training himself how to grow grapes and make wine, and paying for it by working as an apprentice builder. Crafted by merlot grown on Awakino Point, this bottle of niceness from Northland erupts with ripe […]

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 […]

Ake Ake Preservative Free Northland Merlot 2016 $30

“We basically just guide the wine from grape to bottle with as little interference as possible” says Ake Ake’s winemaker, John Clarke.  Totally inexperienced when he bought the property in 2004, he went to the library and borrowed some books on how to grow grapes and make wine.  Many medals later, he owns Northland’s only […]

Karikari Estate Pinotage 2013 $42

Winemaker Alan Collinson has unleashed a wine that literally had me leap around yelling at people in my office to taste it.  Perfumed, plush, plump and packed with sexy berries and concentrated cocoa, spices and sarsaparilla characters, it’s my new favourite thing.  Fresh acidity and soft, stretchy tannins and luscious length of flavour.  Gorgeous. Sip […]

Byrne Puketotara Northland Chardonnay 2015 $29 ★★★★

Right about now if you’re a chardonnay fan, you’ll be all about talent-spotting. Who are the ones to watch?  Well, Ben Byrne up in the Bay of Islands is definitely a bit of a wunderkind when it comes to crafting chardonnays brimming with buttered crumpet, spicy roast peach and caramelised oak characters.  He’s captured the […]

Karikari Esate Calypso Northland Merlot 2014 $27 (3.5stars)

If you were looking for New Zealand’s northernmost vineyard then you’ve come to the right place.  The heat bakes those vines and the breezes which gust in from the coast directly below the peninsula keep the bunches dry and clean.  Winemaker Alan Collinson uses wild, natural yeasts to ferment the juice, which adds to the […]

Millars Vineyard Syrah 2014 $25 4.5 stars

Millars Vineyard Syrah 2014 $25 (4.5 stars) Take the little bendy track called Bush Lane above Mangawhai beach, and you’ll find the small but perfectly formed vineyard belonging to Ross Millar. He grows tiny amounts of darn lovely wine and this syrah is no exception. Ultra-pure peppercorn characters on the nose merge with lifted violet, […]

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