WINE REVIEWS: Merlot cabernet

Some of the wines in this tasting have the advantage of bottle age but the younger ones would benefit from a few more months to soften the rough, raw edges, and others, even at three years old, will continue to develop further nuances over a couple more years.


BEST VALUE

Main Divide Waipara Merlot Cabernet 2009

$20

Three and a half stars (out of five)

Good value

At three years old, this is a mature wine, spicy with hints of dark berries, forest floor, malt, savoury undertones and a suggestion of cigar box, with a supple but firm finish.

www.maindivide.com

 

 

Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2011

$19

Three stars

Average value

A simple fruit-driven wine with lots of sweet boysenberry flavours along with spicy oak and hints of dark chocolate, with a surprisingly firm structure behind the almost jammy fruit.

www.millsreef.co.nz 

 

 

Mills Reef Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2010

$25

Three and a half stars

Average value

A concentrated wine, oozing blackcurrants and red fruits with a slightly raw edge that will soften over a few months or a couple of years. Dense and inky with lots of spicy oak and a suggestion of mineral with supple tannins and a fresh finish.

www.millsreef.co.nz

 

Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2011

$23

Three and a half satrs

Average value

Bright and youthful with generous if assertive fruit, spicy oak and a firm structure, fine-grained tannins on the finish, this young wine will benefit from a few months or a years' bottle age to soften the rougher edges.

www.sacredhill.co.nz

 

Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2009

$30

Three and a half stars

Below average value

Dark fruit, plums and dark berries, savoury flavours, hints of dark chocolate and spice bolstered by a lot of oak this is a powerful, textural wine with firm, dusty tannins on the finish. Drinking well now but a couple more years' bottle age may allow it to mellow and develop more complexity.

www.missionestate.co.nz

 

Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Cab Sauvignon 2009

$30

Four stars

Average value

My pick of the Mission wines in this tasting, this is concentrated with dark fruit, a suggestion of mint and spicy complex undertones, all supported by well-balanced oak. A big wine with lots of things going on, it is drinking well now but will continue to develop with a few more years bottle age. Look for it on special.

www.missionestate.co.nz

 

ANOTHER GLASS

Saint Clair Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2011

$21.50

Three stars

Below average value

This is Saint Clair's first Hawkes Bay red wine, although you wouldn't know unless you read theback label. A dry wine, tight and young, that takes some time to reveal its restrained red fruits, hints of spicy, smoky oak and firm finish.

www.saintclair.co.nz

 

Mission Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2011

$20-30

Three and a half stars

Average value

Hints of roasted coffee, dark chocolate and oak mingle with spicy berry fruit, and finish withdusty tannins in this fresh young wine.

www.missionestate.co.nz