Some Hawkes Bay reds, variations on traditional Bordeaux blends such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and sometimes cabernet franc and malbec, can be superb, and good Hawkes Baysyrah has a wonderful purity of fruit along with a pepperiness and silkiness. But sometimes Australians can be better value.



Aramis McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2009


Four stars(out of five)

Good value

Slightly funky when first poured, this five year old Australian red is mature with dense, mellowed fruit, concentrated flavours, complex layers of spice, licorice and dark savoury notes, supple tannins and a nicely balanced finish.





Alluviale Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Red Wine 2012


Three and a half stars

Average value

A youthful wine (86% merlot 21% cabernet sauvignon) with generous, dark spicy fruits, hints of chocolate, mint and dried herbs, and a firm, slightly edgy tannic backbone. Give it another couple of years to mellow and mature.





Alpha Domus The Barnstormer Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012


Four stars

Average value

Dark and peppery with lovely purity of fruit hinting of plums, beetroot, dark chocolate, mint and spicy oak, this is mouth-filling with a silky texture overlying an exciting, lively, backbone and well balanced finish.




Rippon Central Otago Gamay Noir 2013


Three and a half stars

Below average value

A brash, vigorous young wine, oozing hints of cinnamon, pepper, mineral and oak, with lively, silky fruit intertwined with firm, grippy tannins that assert themselves from first contact through to the long aftertaste.





Mills Reef Elspeth Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2010


Four stars

Average value

A Hawkes Bay classic - blackcurrants, plums, silky, spicy fruit with cedar, mineral and earthy, savoury undertones, finishing with supple tannins and a lingering aftertaste.





Matariki Taurus Hawkes Bay 2007


Four and a half stars

Below average value

A limited edition blend of cabernet saugvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, syrah and malbec released at its peak, this is concentrated with dark, complex undertones, great depth and generosity of fruit, spicy, hinting of mint, with well-integrated oak, firm, dry, fine-grained tannins and a well-balanced finish.






Sherwood RD1 Waipara Collection Syrah 2011


Three stars

Aelow average value

A light, gentle, mature wine, hinting of cherry and strawberry compote, silky with dusty oaktannins on the finish.




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