Insoglio del Cinghiale, an impressive Tuscan red blend

I’m not usually a huge super-Tuscan fan, but this is really good. There’s a purity and focus here that I don’t often get from Tuscany. Tasted blind, I reckon I’d have put it in the new world, but elegant new world. I followed this over a couple of days, and it was just as good [...]

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, [...]