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  

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 […]

Matawhero Gisborne Merlot 2016 $22 ★★★★

For a red that’s only just been bottled and released, this is drinking darn gorgeously. Ripe, round, plush plum and milk chocolate notes on the nose and palate, it’s dangerously smooth and velvety in the mouth and boasts a long, warming finish. Subtle fruitcake spices, pepper and hints of red berry add to the fruit […]

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 […]

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot 2014

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot 2014 $33 ★★★★½ Cleverly crafted by winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark (who has a background in microbiology, zoology and forensic science interestingly enough) from fruit grown in the Gimblett Gravels, this is a wine with deeply earthy aromas of chocolate, liquorice and cured meats.  Those same characters […]

The Family Gisborne Merlot 2013

The Family Gisborne Merlot 2013 $25 ★★★★ Pioneer winemaker John Thorpe and his family are really making a name for themselves with this family brand and lovers of soft, plummy and plush merlot will fall all over themselves when they taste this wine. Bright berries, cherries chocolatey spices and a long, silky finish make this […]

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Merlot 2010

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Merlot 2010 $21 ★★★½ This has such a gorgeous aroma, boysenberry, plum with a waft of espresso – while in the mouth it is ripe, juicy and very very drinkable.  Merlot from Marlborough is looking rather marvelous indeed!  www.saintclair.co.nz  

Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2009

Matua ‘Single Vineyard’ Matheson Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2009 $69  Ruby-hued and exhibiting saucy aromas of plum compote and chocolate while in the mouth it has succulent cherry, blackberry and enticing spices.  The oak is beautifully integrated, the acidity is elegant, the alcohol is warming and the finish is solid and muscular.  Definitely a wine for […]

Cypress Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2010

Cypress Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2010 $21  Lifted spicy plum, raspberry and deep cherry and cocoa aromatics followed by a lovely chocolate, smoke character on the finish, this is a fantastic, fresh, beautifully balanced red that will definitely impress.  I think it’ll cellar well for another 4-5 years if you’re disciplined enough.  www.cypress.co.nz   Cypress Hawke’s Bay […]

Ti Point Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010

Ti Point Two Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 $22  Matakana winemaker Tracy Haslam has created a really tasty wine with bright berryfruit, smoke and pepper notes on the nose followed by lovely plush, fruit-forward tannins and a ripe, robust finish.  A definite crowd-pleaser and absolutely lovely with steak and kidney pie.  www.tipoint.co.nz

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