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 notes, with a sniff of pepper and cocoa thrown in.  It’s a soft, smooth, quaffable wine that’ll appeal to those who want a soft, fun sip. Widely available in supermarkets.