A superb South African Merlot

I’m not the world’s greatest Merlot fan, and so I was pleasantly surprised by this superb South African Merlot, from Hartenberg, a winery I visited on my first trip to South Africa in 2003. They’re the winery that used to make a varietal Pontac, which I think they’ve since discontinued.

Hartenberg Merlot 2007 Stellenbosch
14.5% alcohol. This [...]

Two Bordeaux-style reds from New Zealand

As regular readers know, I’m a bit taken by New Zealand’s top reds at the moment. Here are two more good-uns, both from the wonderful Gimblett Gravels terroir.

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2006 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Sweet, fresh plum and blackberry fruit nose with a gravelly, tarry edge. The palate shows sweet, [...]