Wine Guide: Beyond Borders

A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of south-west France. The area produces predominantly red wines, which the English will often refer to as Clarets. These red Bordeaux wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot being the most common. While the Bordeaux region is the largest wine growing region in the country, it also produces some of the most expensive and most sought-after wines in the world. Using the same grape varietals and the same wine making techniques, winemakers the world over are producing outstanding ‘new world’ expressions of these prestigious wines. Here is a selection of a few that we loved from our own Hawke’s Bay region and one from Coonawarra in South Australia, two unique wine growing areas that we have discovered to be some of the best at producing outstanding Bordeaux-style wines.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – Hawke’s Bay

Villa Maria has to be one of our most successful wine brands. They hold more awards than any other winemaker in the country and just recently were named the world’s most admired wine brand – for the fourth year in a row.

This wine follows in their award-winning capacity in taking out Gold at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2018.

Deeply coloured and abundant in perfumed aromas of blackberry, blackcurrants, violets and herbs, with notes of oaky spice. The flavour is very approachable, with ripe dark berry fruits and subtle tannins. This wine is good to drink now or to hold for the next five to eight years to develop even greater complexity.

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2015 – Hawke’s Bay

Sacred Hill derives it name from Puketapu (sacred hill in Maori) where the winery was first established back in the 1980s. Inspired by New Zealand’s success in the America’s Cup and leading their prestigious Special Selections range, they named this delightful wine ‘Helmsman’.

This gorgeous Bordeaux-style blend takes in three grape varietals (76 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 19 percent Merlot, 5 percent Cabernet Franc). Grown in the much coveted Gimblett Gravels region of Hawke’s Bay, and in an excellent growing season, Sacred Hill has produced a mouthwatering blend in this one.

On first impressions, you’ll see the wine has a very deep dark-red colour. The aroma is tantalisingly fragrant with notes of cassis, blackcurrant and dark chocolate. Black fruits and even black olives come through on the palate. Classically structured with an elegant yet powerful finish, this wine will mature beautifully over time, but, as we discovered, it is also a wine that is perfect for consuming now.

The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Coonawarra (South Australia)

Yalumba is one of Australia’s largest family-owned wineries and one of the oldest. Yalumba still remains under the family ownership of the original founder. With five generations and 168 years of wine production in Australia, they have produced some outstanding wines. It was back in the 1960s that Sir Robert Menzies (red wine enthusiast and then Prime Minister of Australia) toasted a gathering, praising Yalumba’s Claret as one of Australia’ greatest wines. It was this praise that influenced the name ‘The Menzies’ given to this exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon.

Produced from grapes grown on the terra rossa soils of the Coonawarra region – a cigar-shaped area of red soil that is often hailed as the ‘holy grail’ of Cabernet Sauvignon wine growing country.

This wine has the deepest plum‑red hue. The bouquet is perfumed with violets and lilac floral notes with hints of seaspray and pepper. Red fruits abound on a palate rich with dark chocolate and robust tannins. This is a wine that has longevity, elegance and structure, a rich and powerful wine that is good now but will be even greater in the years to come.

Mills Reef Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2016 – Hawkes Bay

We have a real soft spot for this winery. It is, after all, one of the most awarded boutique wineries in the country. It creates some of the most outstanding Bordeaux-style reds, and it would seem this one is no exception. Not only did it take out Gold at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, but also the trophy for the Champion in Cabernet Sauvignon and blends – a huge achievement and one well deserved.

As with most of our outstanding Bordeaux-style wines, this sumptuous wine was again grown in the stony soils of the Gimblett Gravels.

The wine is rich and brooding with a nice silky texture. Rich blackberry aromas come through on the nose. Intense blackcurrant and blackberry flavours dance on the palate with hints of cigar box and toastie vanillin oak. This wine is perfect for consuming now, but you won’t go wrong cellaring it for a good five to 10 years.