The Best Reds

Throughout the year we are lucky enough to sample some incredible wines. It is always the best of these wines that we feature in our pages and while we don’t feature every wine we get sent, we are always overwhelmed at the calibre of wines that keep coming through the M2 doors.  

There are, however, a select few that we keep back for our best wine features and so here they are; the best reds in which we selected seven red wines (six from New Zealand and one from Australia) for the list, the first of our two part series. All priced at over $100 a bottle, and for very good reasons, in our opinion, these are some of the very best wines from the Antipodes that you’ll find on the shelves today.

TE MATA, COLERAINE, 2016 (HAWKE’S BAY)

Te Mata is New Zealand’s oldest winery; dating back to 1896. Their history for creating great wines goes well back with Te Mata winning an international Gold Medal right back in 1909 for its Cabernet in the Imperial International Exhibition. But it wasn’t until the early 80’s when the Buck family took over that it really started to hit its stride with its unique Bordeaux blends. The Coleraine is considered by many to be the best of our New Zealand reds and was recently hailed as being “among the top Bordeaux blends in the world.” by Decanter magazine. One Aussie critic described it as being “ New Zealand’s Grange equivalent” (Gary Walsh – The Wine Front, Aus.). Being among the world’s best however also means it is hugely popular, with most vintages selling out within days! Getting hold of a bottle could be a challenge but well worth it if you can.

The last three vintages have been outstanding and last year I described these as a trifecta, and for the fourth year in a row, they have done it again. The long hot summer, mature vines and careful management of the vines has paid off in spades.

Named after the hometown of the Bucks grandfather, the wine is a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc; a brilliant magenta colour, the wine has a wonderful bouquet of fragrant raspberry and old fashioned roses with a hint of cedar and thyme. Superb depth and complexity with laser edge ripe plums, blackcurrants, black cherries and wild strawberries framed by fine, dry and silky tannins that will ensure fantastic results from long term cellaring of up to 20 years.

YALUMBA, OCTAVIUS OLD VINE SHIRAZ 2014 (BAROSSA, AUSTRALIA)

Yalumba is one of Australia’s oldest wineries and has a long history of innovation, with pioneering wine research at its heart. Yalumba boasts the pre-eminent Viticultural Nursery of Australia and is the only Australian winery with its own on-site cooperage.

The Barossa Valley was one of the few areas around the world that remained untouched by the devastating root investing phylloxera bug that ravaged the winegrowing industry in the late 19th and early 20th century. As a consequence the Barossa valley has some of the oldest Syrah vines in the world. Sourced from the Barossa (63%) and Eden (37%) valleys the grapes used in this wine were selected from vines with an average age of 71 years.

The only winery in Australia with it’s own cooperage, Yalumba commissioned its own American octave barrels (the inspiration behind the name) for the maturation of this truly outstanding handmade and handcrafted wine.

The wine blends the richness and density of the Barossa Shiraz with the fruity aromatics of the Eden Valley Shiraz to deliver an exquisitely brooding wine; medium to full bodied the wine exhibits savoury notes of red currants followed by dried herb aromatics.

The deep richness and concentration of the Barossa Shiraz comes through on the palate with notes of bitter chocolate with a seamless palate structure and robust tannins through to the finish this wine is worth cellaring for up to 15 years.

TRINITY HILL, HOMAGE SYRAH, 2015 (HAWKE’S BAY)

Trinity Hill has been though a few changes in recent years in ownership and management. However, the winemaking has been under Warren Gibson for quite few years now and I’m pleased to say their flagship wine remains one New Zealand’s most outstanding Syrahs.

Warren’s predecessor in winemaking at Trinity Hill was John Hancock. The Homage is in honor of Hancock’s inspiration and mentor, the late Gerard Jaboulet from Côte-Rôtie, in the Rhône valley, who took Hancock under his wing.

Traditionally blended with a small amount of Viognier, and produced from grapes grown in the Gimblett Gravels of Hawke’s Bay, 2015 was a warm season in the region with dry conditions lasting till late autumn. Impeccable attentive viticulture has ensured that fruit was in premium condition before harvest with the result being another outstanding Syrah from Trinity Hill.

The grapes were handpicked from numerous sites around the Gimblett Gravels vineyard to ensure only the best bunches went into the making of this wine. With some batches being whole bunch fermented and using traditional foot stomping to contribute to the freshness aromatics and structure. Up to 50 days on the skins has contributed to the dark colour. The wine is beautifully aromatic with floral notes overlaid with notes of licorice and blackberries; tightly structured and well balanced this wine will cellar well for years to come.

Being of the best Syrahs of the 2015 vintage you may struggle to still get hold of a bottle. I suggest to avoid disappointment in future you consider the 2016 Homage Syrah – En Primeur offer where you’ll get 6 x Bottles of 2016 Homage Syrah delivered to your door one month before the official release for just $590. That’s $780 value! (the wine will be shipped out in the beginning of October 2018).

VILLA MARIA, NGAKIRIKIRI CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 2013 (HAWKE’S BAY)

A milestone in Villa Maria’s 53-year winemaking history, and the culmination of years of winemaking achievements from New Zealand’s most awarded winery, the Ngakirikiri has been years in the making, as they waited for the very best vintage before they finally produced this outstanding wine.

Ngakirikiri is the Maori word for the gravels on which the vines were grown. Hawke’s Bay is an area recognised for some of the best wine production in New Zealand and the best place to grow the Bordeauxstyle grapes that went into the production of this wine.

It is deep ruby in colour, with intense aromas of plums, cassis and notes of violets, mocha with hints of thyme.The palate is complex and layered, beautifully balanced from start to finish with flavors of ripe blackcurrants, fine grain tannins and French oak emerging throughout at levels that perfectly complement and take the palate on a wonderful journey. This wine is definitely worth adding to the cellar and will keep well for up to 20 years.