Kiwi style with a nod to Bordeaux

Mark Henderson
Mark Henderson

While in France recently, I farewelled a group of wine-loving friends who were off to Bordeaux to further indulge their passion.

The merlot and cabernet dominant blends crafted there have long been something of a template for producers around the world.

The Hawkes Bay wines featured here certainly nod to their Bordeaux counterparts, yet are forging their own path rather than mimicking a style and can comfortably stand alongside them.

Mr Collins and I certainly enjoyed our work today.




2009 Villa Maria Gimblett Gravels Library Release Reserve Cabernet Merlot
Rating:  Excellent to outstanding 

Tobacco, cigar box, dustiness, the fruit melding into the whole. Showing development but the fruit weight still excellent with red and dark fruits and a touch of  Christmas cake. Higher acidity brings a tingle to the palate and a cooler feel to the mouth.

This comes together in the glass strutting its stuff and would be a great food choice.



2010 Villa Maria Gimblett Gravels Library Release Merlot Cabernet
Rating:  Excellent 

Distinctive nose of bramble, smoke, cooked asparagus with mellowed cassis fruit. A sweet fruit core caresses the palate adding a menthol note to the marked asparagus. Luscious on the mid palate with powerful tannins, bright acidity and good balance. 

The distinctive flavours may make for a love it or hate it response.



2009 Villa Maria Gimblett Gravels Library Release Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $70 
Rating: Outstanding  

Moving into secondary characters with plums, dark fruits, milk chocolate and a distinctive savoury aspect. A silky, creamy entry, the wine filling every crevice of the mouth before the tannins flood in to remind you of the structure. Generosity of flavour, intense fruit, chocolate, oak seasoning and a zingy backdrop. Complete and delicious.



Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot
Price:  $70 
Rating:  Outstanding 

Complex nose with smoke, dustiness, peppery spice, and tobacco with lovely fruit in support. The palate leads with tobacco, cassis and plum; a hint of leaf on the beautiful and very long finish. Intensity here, yet finesse, elegant, fine and with bags of class: superb potential too.

Leaves you salivating and wanting more!



2015 Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Sophia
Rating:  Excellent  

Subtle but ripe nose with red fruits, fruit cake and a touch of mint/ menthol. Sumptuous on entry with creamy richness, the evident power matched by a core of freshness with ripe tannins encircling the wine. Red fruits and spice lead with hints of blueberry and a schisty close.

Nicely balanced though embryonic, promising more.



2013 Kidnapper Cliffs Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot
Rating: Excellent to outstanding 

A sweetness to the perfumed nose with mint/menthol and cedar backing the red and dark fruits. Smoky and earthy with a crushed leaf twist on a palate that is supple, mouthfilling and intense; a lovely brightness framing the very long and delicious close.

Tightens a little in the glass, suggesting the best is yet to come.

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