Ignore the inclement weather and crack open a red

In mid February, I read a news report about weather patterns in Christchurch, stating that it had only received 15% of its usual sunshine hours in the first two weeks of the month, while also smashing its rainfall records for the equivalent period.

I was left thinking "thank goodness — it’s not just us". To say that the weather in Dunedin since new year has been erratic would be an understatement, with occasional bright, warm days often followed by wintry chill.

It has driven me to robust reds with today’s selection a grouping (mostly) from Hawke’s Bay.


2020 Trinity Hill The Trinity Hawke’s Bay Red Blend

Price RRP $24.99
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Merlot dominant
blend. A sense of
volume, dark fruits,
dark berries, berry
compote, stony
hints, savoury,
bonfire smoke later.
expressed palate,
structured yet not
overbearing. Chewy
tannins that combine
nicely with the depth
of fruit. This wine
makes a statement
and would marry
well with a slab of



2018 Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Merlot

Price RRP $31
Rating Very Good

Perfumed nose,
mixed berryfruits, a
wisp of struck match,
humus, forest floor.
Oak char, a touch of
soy sauce, savoury
characters mingling
with sweet fruits. The
tannins are relatively
grippy, racy acidity
too, still feeling quite
youthful with a
bittersweet, peated
whisky-like note on
the finish. I could
imagine this pairing
nicely with sausages
fresh off the barbie.



2018 Elephant Hill Hieronymus Price

Price $120
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

Milk chocolate, red
berries, dark plum, leaf
and bold oak scents.
Powerfully composed,
real tannic structure
wrapping a corset
around the wine. Full
bodied, ripe yet dry,
adding hints of ink, tar
and dusty gravels to
the blackcurrant fruit. A
lot of ingredient, and
winemaker input, this is
big, dark, brooding,
hard to rate as it’s all
about future potential
rather than immediacy.



2019 Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet

Price RRP $34

Rating Excellent

Fascinating nose, stony,
iron filings, dust, blood,
bramble, humus, the fruit
folded in. Sweet fruit on
entry, adding forest floor,
hay, cocoa, crushed leaf
and dark chocolate.
Deceptive tannic charge,
but they’re quite fine, this
combines power and
intensity with style and
elegance, already open
for business. There’s a
bit of intrigue here that
makes you think.



2019 Brennan Gibbston Tempranillo

Price RRP $55
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Subtly perfumed
nose, florality, red
fruits, tobacco, a
touch of toffee. The
fruit more expressive
on the palate, in the
red spectrum, with
spice, a savoury hint
and a whisper of
tangy piquancy. This
is a light to medium-
bodied style, the
tannins already
resolved and
probably better
alongside pinot noirs
than with the bigger
reds I tasted it with.



2018 Elephant Hill Stone Cabernet Sauvignon

Price RRP $59
Rating Outstanding

Fragrance soars from
the glass, crushed
leaves, humus, black
and red currants, oak
scents, chocolate
later. Silkiness before
the tannins charge in,
a richness and depth
of fruit floods the
palate and counters
that tannic structure.
Dry, intense,
complex, a super
long finish with
brambly leaf and
chocolate. A superb
Bordeaux styled red
with time on its side.


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