A zen moment
With all the new-fangled, highfalutin, exotically named red varieties out there, it’s a job keeping up ... So pour a cuddly cabernet or a marvellous merlot and ... exhale.
THE HEDONIST MCLAREN VALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 $25
The first line of the back label of this certified organic and biodynamic cabernet sounds like the chorus of the Divinyls Pleasure and Pain. (YouTube it — brings back memories, right?) A year and a bit in the bottle helps bring out blackberry, plum, hints of menthol, spice and leather to make this a tasty sip. I love the plump, plush mouthfeel and the sexy spices on the finish. Warm, enveloping, gorgeous.
Sip with: peppery, pulled-beef sandwiches. cultwine.co.nz
PASK DECLARATION HAWKE’S BAY
MERLOT 2013 $50
That 2013 was declared “the vintage of the century” by so many Hawke’s Bay wine producers is profoundly evident in wines like this. In the hands of these Gimblett Gravels pioneers, merlot is assured the best possible treatment. For these merlot grapes, their journey from vine to bottle was so carefully handled it’s like they were given day-spa treatment through their 21 months in oak and bottling on November 28, 2014. Which is, coincidentally, the exact date I’m writing this review, four years later. Ultra-fleshy, packed with plum and blueberry layers, pepper, cigar box and a charred, burned bone character on the finish, it’s a velvety-smooth, sexy sip.
Sip with: moussaka. pask.co.nz
KEMP ROAD HAWKE’S BAY WHENUA 2009 $45 What a treat it is to be able to enjoy a cabernetdominant wine nine years from harvest. To experience how those flavours are entering the secondary spectrum of leather, cigar box, prune, espresso and soft chocolate, in place of the primary berries, spice and super-grippy tannins of the early part of its life. Smooth, juicy, chocolatey and ageing beautifully. It’s at its peak drinking now, succulent and juicy.
Sip with: old school steak and kidney pie. greatlittlevineyards.com