Hawke’s Bay rules the complex family of wines in this category, writes Ralph Kyte-Powell.
“Bordeaux blend” is a loose term that can mean a straight varietal wine, a cross-pollination of two varieties, or a multi-varietal blend of very complex make-up. The grape varieties involved are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, all of which originate in the countryside of Bordeaux, on France’s Atlantic coast. The result is a group of wines with a distinct family resemblance, yet the ability to be incredibly complex and multi-faceted.
In New Zealand, the Bordeaux blend is at its best in Hawke’s Bay, and the region has a longer story of success with these grape varieties than any other in the country. In this Cuisine tasting, Hawke’s Bay wines dominated, with the excellent 2013 and 2014 vintages looking the goods.
Many of the wines tasted need bottle age to realise their potential, and this influenced the assessments of them, thus reducing the award tally. Of 80 wines tasted, a little over half (41) were awarded star ratings, and those wines showed admirable consistency and ripe appeal.
Hawke’s Bay cabernet sauvignon blends rarely get better than this. Dense in colour, it has a captivating nose of blackcurrants, red fruits,
balanced sweet/smoky oak, and a hint of leafy austerity. In the mouth it’s ripe and intense, with complex flavours starting to develop ahead
of a lingering fragrant aftertaste. Superb New Zealand red.
Villa Maria’s budget credentials get yet another fillip from this young merlot/cabernet …2
A very fine young cabernet merlot that’s still a bit closed up …3
A mellow, rich merlot blend that fits well with roast beef. Aromas …4
Established in 1897, this vineyard was the source of New Zealand’s first …5