StoneCutter Martinborough Merlot 2019 $48

The name Merlot comes from its resemblance to the blue-black plumage of the blackbird (merle). Born of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes (they don’t name grapes like they used to right), Merlot was once called Crabutet Noir – not exactly sexy, so a name change was essential. Very pretty aromatically. Sure it’s lighter than your average Hawke’s Bay style, but to me, it actually has a fair bit of Right Bank character as if there’s a bit of franc in there. Amazing colour too and perky, powdery tannins that really go the distance in terms of length of flavour.

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