A couple of years' bottle age makes a difference to the pleasure many reds afford, as age allows the acids and tannins to mellow and soften, eliminating the rough, raw edge some young wines show.



Pegasus Bay MaestroWaipara Merlot Malbec 2009


Four and a half stars (out of five)

Good value

At nearly five years old, this powerful, firmly structured and complex wine is drinking well, oozing soft dark berries mellowed by hints of spice, pipe tobacco and olive. It will continue to develop.




Sacred Hill Halo Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2012


Three and a half stars

Average value

A dark, dense wine with hints of mineral, elder and other dark berries, a suggestion of spicy toasty oak, but with a slightly herbal edge and firm, grippy tannins. Will mellow with time.




Sileni Hawkes Bay Merlot 2013


Three stars

Average value

A simple young wine with hints of plums, roasted beetroot, ripe boysenberries and spice with a bright finish.




Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2011


Four stars

Below average value

Aromatic with suggestions of pepper and newly sawn timber, lovely purity of fruit - generous, ripe, juicy boysenberries and hints of spicy oak - this is concentrated and powerful with a lively edge and dusty tannins on the finish.




Mills Reef Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012


Three stars

Average value

Redolent with aromas of freshly sawn, sappy pine, this peppery wine oozes sweet berry fruit with a hint of spice and a firm, crisp finish, with sweet fruit lingering on the aftertaste. For those who prefer a sweeter red.




Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Merlot 2011


Three and a half stars

Below average value

Even at nearly three years old this is youthful, changing as it sits in the glass. Spicy fruit, plums and dark berries jostle with hints of dark chocolate, held together by its firm structure and grippy tannins that will mellow with further bottle age.


Another Glass

Sacred Hill Halo Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012 


Three and a half stars

Below average value

Hints of dark berries, white pepper, pine and new leather, this has concentrated fruit - plums and spicy oak with a lively herbal edge and dry finish.


Mills Reef Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2012


Three stars

Average value

Juicy, almost confected red fruits with a hint of toffee, a lively edge and dusty tannins on the finish.


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