Babich-Irongate-Hawkes-Bay-Cabernet-Merlot-Franc-m

Irongate Cabernet Merlot Franc

We have been producing Babich Irongate Cabernet Merlot Franc since 1986 and it has evolved into this richly flavoured, balanced and elegant wine. The vines from this now-famous Gimblett Gravels Irongate vineyard are selected at pruning, and crop levels are closely monitored to ensure excellent flavour concentration in the grapes.

Select Vintage

2015

Grape:

51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate

Recommended Food:

This wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

3-15 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After 8 months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further 8 months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.5%
TA: 6.3 g/l
pH: 3.62
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

Sweetly perfumed aromas - clove and cinnamon backed up with dark plums, vanilla and a touch of cedar. The palate is richly fruited. Plums and forest berries with savoury leather and cigar notes. Seamless and dense tannins add to the sense of warmth. Opulence nicely balanced with a red vibrancy and spice on the finish.

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Technical

Alcohol:

13.5

Fermentation:

Traditional

Fermentation Vessel:

Open top vats

Filtration:

Yes

Fining:

Egg whites

Grape:

51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc

Harvest Analysis:

CS Brix 23.2, pH 3.33, TA 5.5 g/l; ME Brix 23.5, pH 3.50, TA 4.8 g/l; CF Brix 24.6, pH 3.32, TA 5.1

Harvest Dates:

Cabernet Sauvignon - 16th April; Merlot - 1st March; CF - 8th April

Harvest Method:

Hand picked

Malolactic:

Yes

Maturation:

16 months in new & seasoned oak barriques

pH:

3.62

Processing:

Cold soak on Cabernet Franc.

Residual Sugar:

Dry

TA:

6.3 g/l

Vineyard:

Irongate

Year:

2015

Awards

GOLD MEDAL – China Wine & Spirits Awards 2017

91 POINTS – Jo Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, Feb 2018

93 POINTS – Jamie Goode, www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/, May 2018

94 POINTS – Cameron Douglas MS, 2017

91 POINTS – Rebecca Gibb MW, www.rebeccagibb.com, June 2018

5 STARS – Winestate Magazine Nov/Dec 2018 issue

5 STARS – Bob Campbell, www.therealview.com

5 STARS – Ryamond Chan, www.raymondchanwinesreviews.co.nz

92 POINTS – www.jamessuckling.com

Reviews

“Full, very dark, black-red colour with slight purple hues on the edge.  The nose is very fresh and elegant with vibrant and aromatic lifted blackcurrant and blackberry fruit along with notes of dark herbs, spices and iron-earth minerals, unveiling some pencilly oak.  The aromatics are refined, intense and intricately detailed.  Medium-bodied, the palate possesses fresh and lively aromatic fruit flavours of blackcurrants and cassis with blackberries, dark herbs, subtle earthy elements and pencilly oak.  The mouthfeel is fresh and poised with bright, lacy acidity providing energy and tension, and a fine-grained structural line that leads to a ling, piquant blackcurrant and herb flavoured finish.  This is an elegant, refreshingly vibrant Cabernet/Merlot blend with blackcurrant, herb, earthy and subtle oak flavours on a fine-grained palate.”
5 STARS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz

“A wealth of richness and power, this has majestic appeal. The oak is dialled up to statement-level and has a lot to say but the concentrated fruits in the cherry, blueberry and cassis spectrum are more than up to the task. Long groomed tannins through the finish.”
92 POINTS
– www.jamessuckling.com

“Attractive, sweetly fruited nose that develops an enticing fragrantly perfumed leafy lift. Very Bordeaux-like palate: ripe fruit yet dry, dusty and savoury rather than sweet and overblown. Showing dried herbs and oak nuances on the long fruit driven close.  Wonderful elegance and balance, the powerful tannins ever present.”
-Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, 8 Nov 2017

“Floral, herbal and even a touch peppery, the 2015 Irongate Cabernet-Merlot-Franc is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc aged 16 months in French oak. It’s medium-bodied and streamlined in shape, with classy cedar notes accenting cassis and cherry fruit. Vanilla notes emerge on the dry, silky finish.”
91 POINTS
-Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, Feb 2018

“This single-vineyard wine is the second contender from Babich in this year’s selection – this time a blend of 51 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon with 30 per cent of Merlot and 19 per cent of Cabernet Franc.  Oak is a little more evident here than in some of its peers – or perhaps the fruit is intrinsically more reticent.  It is, nonetheless, an attractive wine of ample red-fruit charm and round contour.  The Merlot seems particularly successful here. ”
-Decanter magazine, Andrew Jefford, May 2018

“This is a beautiful, well-proportioned wine in an old-world mould. It has a fresh, quite floral nose of sweet blackcurrant fruit with a subtly chalky, gravelly twist. The palate is mid-weight and taut with fresh, sappy-edged blackcurrant and cherry fruit, together with appropriate structure and acidity. There’s ample concentration here, but also delicacy and freshness, and it has no rough edges.”
93 POINTS
– Jamie Goode, www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/, May 2018

“A rather spicy expression with an intriguing flavour combination – a punnet full of blueberries mixes with paprika. The tannins are well handled, offering the Cabernet Sauvignon (51%) frame for Merlot (30%) to flesh out while Cabernet Franc brings a fine line and pencil lead scents to haunt the mouth on the medium-long finish.”
91 POINTS
-Rebecca Gibb MW, www.rebeccagibb.com, June 2018

“Likely to flourish for a decade, this elegant red has deep, youthful colour. Fragrant and supple, with strong blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, finely integrated French oak and a savoury, sustained finish, it’s a classic ‘Bordeaux-style’ red, showing impressive complexity and harmony.”
5 STARS
-Winestate Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018 issue

2014

Grape:

58% Cabernet Sauvignon,  29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate vineyard

Recommended Food:

This award winning Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new (35%) and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After seven months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further seven months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.5%
TA: 5.9g/l
pH: 3.65
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

Savoury and spicy, good complexity, with ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours. Good tannin support.

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Technical

Alcohol:

13.50%

Fermentation:

Traditional

Fermentation Vessel:

Open top vats

Filtration:

Yes

Fining:

None

Grape:

58% Cabernet Sauvignon,  29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc

Harvest Analysis:

Cabernet Sauvignon 10th April, Merlot 5th April; Cabernet Franc 30th March

Harvest Dates:

Cabernet Sauvignon 10th April, Merlot 5th April; Cabernet Franc 30th March

Harvest Method:

Hand picked

Malolactic:

Yes

Maturation:

13 months in oak

pH:

3.5

Processing:

Cold soak on Cabernet Franc

Residual Sugar:

Dry

TA:

5.9 g/l

Vineyard:

Irongate vineyard

Year:

2014

Awards

GOLD MEDAL – China Wine & Spirits Awards 2016

91+ POINTS – Andrew Caillard MW, Gimblett Gravels Annual Vintage Selection 2016

92 POINTS – Cameron Douglas MS, The Shout/FMCG magazine, July 2016

5 STARS, 18.5/20 POINTS -Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwine reviews.co.nz, Jan 2016

4.5 STARS – -Michael Cooper, New Zealand Listener, May 2016

 

4 STARS – Winestate Magazine, Nov/Dec 2016 issue

Reviews

“Full, dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly concentrated with a complex array of aromatics, showing a core of black and red currant fruit with dark red plums, dried herb, tobacco and earth, intermingling funky meat, mineral and cedary, toasty oak elements, all tightly bound and yet to blossom. Medium-full bodied, fine and firmly concentrated, the fruit sweetness and richness of ripe blackberry, blackcurrant, red currant and plum flavours form a vibrant core. Sweet dark plum, tobacco, dried herb, floral and cigar-box and toasty oak elements unfold, adding complex detail. The fruit sweetness is neatly balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure forming a firm, linear drive that carries the wine to a long, lingering succulent black and red-fruited finish. This is a classical claret-styled Cabernet/Merlot blend with succulent fruit, a touch of funkiness and fine-grained structure. Match with roast beef and lamb over the next 6-9 years. A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc from the ‘Irongate’ vineyard, hand-picked, individually fermented and aged 7 months in 35% new French oak, blended and aged a further 7 months in oak.”
5 STARS
18.5/20 POINTS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwine reviews.co.nz, Jan 2016

“Estate-grown in the Irongate Vineyard and matured in small French oak barrels, this elegant, firmly structured red is typically a stylish wine in the classic Bordeaux mould. This is a full-bodied, generous, concentrated red, with youthful blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, savoury and complex, finely integrated oak and obvious potential.”
-Michael Cooper, NZ Listener, 21-27 May 2016

“Estate-grown in the Irongate Vineyard and matured in small French oak barrels, this elegant, firm structured red is typically a stylish wine in a classic Bordeaux mould. This is a full-bodied, generous, concentrated red, with youthful blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, savoury and complex, finely integrated oak and obvious potential.”
4.5 STARS
-Michael Cooper, New Zealand Listener, May 2016

“Medium deep colour. Raspberry, cassis, vanilla aromas. Sweet fruited wine with cola bean, cassis, fruit, fine chalky al dente firm tannins and mocha oak complexity. Finishes brambly firm and sinewy.”
91+ POINTS
-Andrew Caillard MW, Gimblett Gravels Annual Vintage Selecton 2016

“Power bouquet with an intriguing mix of fruit and oak aromas: violets, plums and dark berries mutate in oak and woody tones then back to fruit, vanilla and spices – youthfully clumsy (in a good way). On the palate – more of the same, dry firm tannins and acidity, plenty of alcohol and plentiful earthy qualities from rocks to clay and stones.”
92 POINTS
-Cameron Douglas, The Shout/FMCG magazine, July 21016

“Generous, supple Gimblett Gravels blend. Elegant, medium to full-bodied style with ripe berry, plum and spice flavours, tightly structured and youthful.”
4 STARS
-Winestate Magazine, Nov/Dec 2016 issue

“Complex and masculine bouquet of dark berries and bitter chocolate, soft violet tones and spicy oak, complex. On the palate – juicy, fresh, fleshy and dry; dark berry fruit flavours mix with new oak muscle – plenty of texture from firm to fine tannins and medium+ acidity; lots of length and finish, persistent fruit and oak flavours carrying complexity.”
94 POINTS
-Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, The Shout FMCG, Dec/Jan 2017

2013

Grape:

43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new (35%) and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After seven months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further seven months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.5%
TA: 6.6g/l
pH: 3.56
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

Savoury and spicy, good complexity, with ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours. Good tannin support.

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Technical

Grape:

43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2013

Awards

5 STARS – Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, Sept 2014

5 STARS -Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, www.wineorbit.co.nz, Jan 2015

5 STARS -Cameron Douglas MS, NZ Liquor News/FMCG Business magazine, Feb 2015

93 POINTS -Hawke’s Bay 2013 Annual Vintage Selection, 2015

Reviews

“Very dark, near saturated black-red colour with lighter purple hues on rim. The nose is deep and densely concentrated with well-proportioned aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit aromas entwined with spicy dark red plums and minerally, iron-earth detail and subtle oak lift. Medium-full bodied, powerful and concentrated flavours of ripe blackcurrant and plum fruit feature with succulence and a rugged richness. The palate is underlined by good alcoholic power and the fruit framed by sinewy tannin structure. This has liveliness and vitality from fresh acidity, and the deep core carries the wine to a robust finish with drive and length, and nuances of olives, savoury herbs, ink and spices. This is a robustly structured, fresh and lively Cabernet and Merlot-based red that will come together and develop over the next 8-10+ years.”
5 STARS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, Sept 2014

“This iconic label from an exceptional vintage delivers power and structure with an abundance of black/purple fruit, spice and cedar notes with subtly infused dried herb complexity. Fruit purity is outstanding, beautifully enhanced by subtle savoury notes. It’s concentrated and silky, and super long on the finish.”
5 STARS
-Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, www.wineorbit.co.nz, Jan 2015

“Medium deep colour. Blackcurrant, tobacco leaf aroams with graphite notes. Well concentrated inky, cassis, mocha flavours with leafy notes, fine grained textures and savoury oak complexity. Finishes walnutty firm with lovely fruit persistency.”
93 POINTS
-Hawke’s Bay 2013 Annual Vintage Selection, 2015

“Lots of fresh, ripe and expressive red fruits with sweet plum, blackberry and other dark berry fruit suggestions; obvious spicy oak and sweet violets. On the palate – dry, firm, tense and poised for development; flavours reflect the nose with high tannins and medium++ acidity.”
5 STARS
-Cameron Douglas MS, NZ Liquor News/FMCG Business magazine, Feb 2015

“Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Irongate Cabernet/Merlot/Franc has lovely cassis and blackberry fruit aromas on the nose and underlying cedar, earth, tar and bay leaf notes. Medium bodied, the palate gives firm fine tannins, balanced acidity and a long and layered finish.”
-The Wine Advocate, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #216 (Part 2) Jan 2015

“Cabernet can be a tough variety to ripen in New Zealand, but the great conditions of the 2013 vintage in Hawkes Bay have resulted in some lovely cabernets and cabernet-dominant wines. This great example is muscular but elegant with a brooding, concentrated palate of dark berry fruit, notes of cocoa and liquorice and ripe supple tannins.”
-Jo Burzynska, Viva Magazine, 24th May 2015

2012

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This award winning Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new (35%) and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After seven months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further seven months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 12.5%
TA: 5.6g/l
pH: 3.8
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

Savoury and spicy, good complexity, with ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours. Good tannin support.

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Technical

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2012

Awards

GOLD MEDAL – China Best Value Wine & Spirits Awards 2014

5 STARS, 92 POINTS – Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, http://camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz/

5 STARS – Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz

Reviews

“Grown in the Irongate Vineyard in Gimblett Road, Hawke’s bay and matured in French oak barriques (40 per cent new in 2012) this elegant, complex, firmly structured red is designed for cellaring and is typically a very stylish wine in the classic Bordeaux mould. The 2012 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc barrel-aged for over a year. Fragrant and full-coloured it is medium to full-bodied with vibrant blackcurrant, plum, herb and spice flavours, seasoned with nutty oak, and excellent delicacy, complexity and harmony.”
5 STARS
-Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz

“Very full, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour. This has a classically proportioned bouquet of blackcurrants and redcurrants, infused with cedary oak, revealing notes of liquorice and spiced, dark plums, with dark herbal elements that unfold in layers. Medium-bodied and finely presented, a fine and concentrated core of black and red currants and dark plums is the feature on the palate. Sweet spices and cedary oak add interest. The fruit and oak is supported by very fine-grained tannin extract and refined, balanced acidity, providing a vibrant and lively mouthfeel. The palate carries through to a very long, lingering finish of cedar and spices. This is an elegant, fine-grained Bordeaux-blend with spicy, cedary oak infusion.”
5 STARS, 18.5/20 POINTS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, March 2014

“Another heavy bottle from Babich. Dark crimson. Smells mellow and ripe and tastes even a little sweet. I don’t quite understand why this costs only half what their Patriarch costs. A bit mean and green on the finish. Sweet and sour overall. But certainly a fair copy of an AC Médoc with rather more guts to it than The Patriarch.”
-anice Robinson, www.janicerobinson.com, Feb 2015

“From the Irongate vineyard in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels, this graceful red is savoury and seamless. Medium-bodied, it’s fragrant and full-coloured with blackcurrant, plum and dried herb flavours, a subtle seasoning of nutty French oak and excellent depth and harmony.”
-Michael Cooper, Listener, March 2015

“An immediately complex bouquet with layers of fruit and oak unfolding in quick succession – black fruit, oak, spice, plum and bitter chocolate. It is traditional too in its Bordeaux styled attack. I notice a kelp/seashore/iron/chlorophyll like suggestion adding a little mystery and charm. Overall a very pleasing and inviting bouquet. On the palate – dry, complex and compelling – this is a wine that makes you want to savour every layer and contemplate each for a while – this is a rare and very enjoyable. Flavours of red and black fruits return, plenty of acidity and tannins to keep the tension and poise on the palate in tact. A long finish. Overall a compelling and complex wine.”
5 STARS, 92 Points
-Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, http://camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz/

“Moderately saturated medium red. Pure but subdued aromas of recurrant, cherry, underbrush, mocha and toffee, with some very ripe notes lurking. Plush and pliant on the palate but more about spices, herbs and meat than primary fruit. Finishes with broad, dusty tannins and a slight green edge, but this rather Euro-styled wine shows good juiciness and intensity.”
-Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, www.vinousmedia.com, April 2015

“Dense red in a fine-boned and rather elegant style with appealing blackberry, raspberry, spice and savoury herb flavours. Quite a powerful wine – certainly one of the better Bordeaux blends I’ve tasted from this vintage.”
4.5 STARS, 93 POINTS
-Bob Campbell, www.bobcampbell.nz

2011

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new (35%) and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After seven months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further seven months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 12.5%
TA: 5.7 g/l
pH: 3.6
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

Savoury and spicy, good complexity, with ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours. Good tannin support.

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Technical

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2011

Awards

4.5 STARS -Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2013

Reviews

“Grown in the Irongate Vineyard in Gimblett Road, Hawke’s Bay and matured in French oak barriques, this elegant, complex, firmly structured red is designed for cellaring and is typically a very stylish wine in the classic Bordeaux mould. The 2011 is full but not dense in colour. Savoury and spicy, it shows good complexity, with strong, ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours, and good tannin support. Finely textured, it’s a ‘forward’ vintage, already approachable, but should be at its best 2015+”
4.5 STARS
-Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2013

“Dark, even, ruby-red colour with purple hues. The bouquet is elegantly presented, a little shy, but showing concentrated aromas of blackcurrant and red plum fruit aromas interwoven with oak spices, revealing notes of dark herbs and liquorice in the glass. Medium-bodied and elegant in proportion, the flavours of black berry and black currant fruits are tightly bound. Nuances of dark plums, liquorice and oak cedar unfold, adding interest and detail. A fine-grained, moderately firm line from good tannin extraction provides the structure for the wine, with discreet acidity in support, adding tension. The flavours lead to a moderately long finish with nuances of black berry fruit and oak. This is an elegant and finely constructed Bordeaux-varietal blend that will match roast lamb or beef, and hard cheeses over the next 5-6+ years.”
4 STARS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, Nov 2013

“Light, fine, slightly aromatic, herb infused nose and a lean, firm palate give this rather stylish wine an austere temper. Well constructed, the fruit is rather reticent at the moment, but it will gain with some time in bottle.”
-The Panel, Hospitality Magazine, June 2013

“Deep garnet colored and redolent of creme de cassis, ripe plums and mulberries along with suggestions of cedar, cinnamon toast and game, the light to medium-bodied 2011 Irongate Cabernet Merlot has just enough expressive black fruit and savoury flavors to balance the medium level of grainy tannins and refreshing acid line that support through the long finish.”
-Lisa Perrotti-Brown, www.eRobertParker.com, #209, Oct 2013

2010

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This award winning Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skins post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new (40%) and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After six months, the wine was blended, then returned to oak for a further seven months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.0%
TA: 5.9g/l
pH: 3.72
Residual Sugar: 0g/l

Tasting Notes:

The inviting bouquet of blackberries and blueberry develops into attractive savoury and earthy notes. Ripe fine grained tannins are seamlessly integrated with subtle French oak to create excellent texture. It is balanced, smooth and even from start to finish. This is a mouth-watering and warm hearted wine of power and balance. A perfect partner for fine dining.

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Technical

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2010

Awards

5 STARS, 18.5/20 -Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereveiws.co.nz, October 2011

4.5 STARS -Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2012

5 STARS, 93 POINTS -Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com, Jan 2012

5 STARS, 94 POINTS – Sam Kim, Wine Orbit Magazine, March 2012

TOP 100 WINES FOR WINTER -Metro Magazine, NZ, June, 2011

5 STARS -Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, June 2012

SELECTED -2010 Gimblett Gravels Annual Vintage Selection

SILVER MEDAL -China Wine & Spirits Awards 2012

Reviews

“Deep, fullish, dark ruby-red, youthful in appearance. The bouquet is fresh and very aromatic with intense dark berry and floral notes with sweet game and earth complexities. Medium-full bodied, bright, vibrant dark red berry fruit flavours are lifted with red floral elements as well as earth and minerals. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity providing excellent focus and backbone allied to energy and tension. The palate unfolds layers of interest, with oak cedar and spices lingering on a sustained finish. A super-premium label for Babich from the 1985 vintage, this is 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Franc from the Gimblett Gravels,fermented to 13.0% alc. and matured 13 months in 40% new French oak. This vibrant and focussed red features excellent fruit fragrance and will become richer and more complex over the next 7-9+ years.”
18.5/20
5 STARS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, October 2011

“Grown in the Irongate Vineyard in Gimblett Road, Hawke’s Bay and matured in French oak barriques (30 per cent new), this elegant, complex, firmly structured red is designed for cellaring.The 2010 is fragrant and full-coloured, with good concentration of youthful blackcurrant, herb, plum and spice flavours, hints of coffee and dark chocolate, ripe tannins and the structure to age well; open 2013 onwards. These are not blockbuster reds, but quietly classy and very satisfying.”
4.5 STARS
-Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2012

“Intense red rose, berry and seasoned leather aromas open up to punchy plum flavours and a deliciously warming, medicinal mouthfeel. I love how poised and elegant this wine is, and the persistence of flavour is just outstanding.”
-Yvonne Lorkin, Bay of Plenty Times, Dec 2012

“A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 34%, Merlot 34% and Cabernet Franc 32%. Tasted alongside the more expensive flagship Patriarch blended red I found this wine to be slightly more appealing and certainly easier to assess. Full of plump, juicy berry and plum flavours with hints of spice and sweet oak. A top red that can be enjoyed now … or later.”
93 POINTS
5 STARS
-Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com, Jan 2012

“This is a very stylish and poised red for a graceful development. The bouquet is youthful and complex showing dark plum, cassis, cigar and subtle spicy oak characters. The palate is elegant and fine, yet concentrated and persistent with smooth texture and plenty of fine, chalky tannins. For a young wine, this flows beautifully to an impressively long finish.”
94 POINTS
5 STARS
-Sam Kim, Wine Orbit Magazine, March 2012

“A classically structured Bordeaux-style wine with a refined nose of cassis, cedar, tobacco leaf and leather. In the mouth, the fruit is also restrained, with a finish of fine tannins and moderate acidity.”
TOP 100 WINES FOR WINTER
-Metro Magazine, NZ, June, 2012

“In the 1980s Irongate chardonnay and cabernet merlot were leaders in their field and though others have caught up, this remains a stylish wine, fragrant, complex, rich and spicy with blackcurrants and a hint of dark chocolate and a long aftertaste. There’s lots going on and I think it will mature into something quite classy.”
4 STARS
-Otago Daily Times, Charmian Smith, June 2012

“Sweet fruit and oak aromas with violets, black and red fruits, some date and plum, hints of chocolate. No mistaking the oak stamp. Blackberry and plum flavors, spiced brown oak flavors with cacao then violets and chunky oak. Balanced, dry and well made with medium+ length and complexity. After wine tasting for the day I came back to this wine – curious – and discovered that several hours of relaxation and subtle ingress of oxygen opened this wine’s potential into more complex messages. The finished increased in length and intensity and the complexities revealed a wine built for some ageing yet – minimum 5 years.”
5 STARS
-Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, June 2012
“Good-looking in the glass – a dark, opaque red tending to garnet on a black background. The aroma is a concentrated and rewarding blend of plums, tobacco, pepper, tar and smoky oak. Savoury, perfumed and attractive. Drying, savoury tannins combine with leather, ripe plums and lifted blackberry notes on the palate. This deeply flavoured and complex wine is already displaying seamless integration. Dried Christmas cake fruit characters lead out to a lighter berry-fruit finish. One of the few wines where new world and old world styles merge with precision which, upon reflection, sums up the philosophy, history, people and values behind Babich Wines. We make no bones about it; these are excellent, well-priced wines so make sure you try them.”
-Deborah Walton-Derry and Peter Morice, Marlborough Express, July, 2012

“Blackberry and cherries on the nose, and even some pencil shaving minerality. On tasting, the wine is beautifully taut and tight on the palate – you can almost taste the sunbaked stones of Gimblett Gravels. Alongside this is a dirty dustiness – all of which makes up a lovely Bordeaux. No forgiving luscious soft fruit flavours that would make the wine more approachable now in its youth. Instead, the wine yearns for you to lovingly let it out, perhaps by accelerating its age with an aerator or respecting the winemaker by leaving it several more years to naturally do its magic under cork. It will become more silky and textural over time. However if you open one today, it won’t disappoint.”
-John Ingle, gayexpress.co.nz, July 2012

“Moderately dense red with a mix of berry, oak and spice with a slight savoury/gamy/maceration character. Smooth-textured and moderately complex red that’s drinking well now but will no doubt cellar well.”
-Bob Campbell MW, bobswinereviews.com, July 2012

“Another Gimblett Gravels wine from Babich, this one is a ripe and intense red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – roughly one-third of each variety in the blend. Warm and generous, this wine opens up in the glass, showing its Gimblett pedigree with blackberry fruit, plum pudding and mocha flavours. It finishes with savoury notes and soft tannins.”
-Phil Parker, On MAS, August, 2012

“Stylish red from the Irongate vineyard in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels. Dark, fleshy and complex with concentrated, vibrant blackcurrant, dried herb, plum and spice flavours, braced by firm, ripe tannins. Good cellaring potential.”
-Winestate Magazine, Sept/Oct 2012

“Dense youthful colour. A complex nose with considerable ripe fruit and oak in evidence. Palate is not as dense and concentrated as the nose would suggest but still there’s a core of cassis, blackberry and cigar flavours with oak notes of caramel and spice. Firm, youthful tannins on the finish.”
4 STARS
-WineNZ Magazine, Spring 2012

“A blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Franc, the 2010 Irongate Cabernet Merlot Franc displays a deep garnet color and aromas of cassis, dried herbs, tobacco, dried mint plus medicinal and leather hints. Medium bodied, it has a medium level of powdery tannins, a decent core of earthy / meaty fruit, balanced acid and a long finish. Drink it now through 2016.”
-Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #203, Oct 2012

“There’s a real elegance to this beautiful blend of Bordeaux varieties from Babich, which in terms of style sits with one foot in the Old World, another in the New. Velvety textured, its rich and supple dark fruits combine with notes of cigar box, dried herb and a subtle savoury under-current.”
-Jo Burzynska, Viva, 5th December 2012

“This wine is 34 per cent cabernet sauvignon and merlot with 32 per cent cabernet franc and is from Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels – a family winery which has been making wine since 1916. It has classic flavours of blackcurrant and plum with spicy undertones and would be perfect with smoky barbecued meats.”
-The New Zealand Herald, Canvas Magazine, John Hawkesby, February 2013

2009

Grape:

67% Cabernet Sauvignon , 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skin post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After 13 months, the wine was blended and bottled. A good year for Cabernet Sauvignon, it dominates the blend at 68%, (Merlot 23% and Cabernet Franc 9%).

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.5%
TA: 5.6g/l
pH: 3.75
Residual Sugar: 0g/l

Tasting Notes:

Distinctively warm and lifted with sweet dried Black Doris plums and ripe blueberries on the nose (characteristic notes from the Irongate vineyard). Leather and nutty cedar add an attractive complexity. The palate exudes red and dark fruits upon entry and is well balanced and harmonious with smooth velvety tannins and a fine texture. Dried herbs are balanced perfectly alongside the rich fruit. Blueberry and cocoa linger on the finish. A classic claret with lovely soft acid and welcoming density.

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Technical

Grape:

67% Cabernet Sauvignon , 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2009

Awards

5 STARS, 18.5/20 -Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereveiws.co.nz, April 2011

5 STARS -Winestate Magazine, July/August 2011

5 STARS, 93-95 POINTS -Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, June 2011

4 STARS -Bob Campbell, www.bobswinereviews.com, June 2011

5 STARS, TOP TIP -TiZwine.com, September 2011

5 STARS -Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2012

93 POINTS -Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #197, Oct 2011

Reviews

“This red has a pedigree stretching back to 1985 and is named after the ‘Irongate’ aquifer that runs 25 metres below the soils near the foothills of western Hawke’s Bay. A blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, this was fermented to 13.5% alc., then aged in new and seasoned French oak barrels. Very dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red, youthful in appearance, this has a tight and intense bouquet of blackcurrants with complex dried herb and savoury earth-mineral notes, along with red floral perfumes. Medium-full bodied, the concentrated flavours of ripe black fruits herbs and earth are framed within a firm, but fine-textured structure which allow the sweet fruit nuances to show. This is an finely constructed and classically elegant red designed for aging 8-10+ years. Serve with all roasted red meats and hard cheeses.”
18.5/20
5 STARS
-Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereveiws.co.nz, April 2011

“Stylish, rich and flowing blend of cabernet sauvignon (67%), merlot (25%) and cabernet franc (8%), grown in the Gimblett Gravels. Very elegant wine in the Bordeaux mould, with deep blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, finely integrated French oak and ripe, supple tannins. Best 2014+.”
5 STARS
-Winestate Magazine, July/August 2011

“For a young wine, this shows lovely complexity and superb harmony, displaying dark plum, cassis, spicy oak and a hint of dried herb characters on the nose. The palate is concentrated and elegantly framed, showing excellent mid palate weight and texture, leading to an extremely long finish well supported by fine, polished tannins. The wine is immensely satisfying already, but will be glorious in a few years. At its best: 2014 to 2020.”
5 STARS
93-95 POINTS
-Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, June 2011

“A mix of fruit (dark berry and plum) with savoury (licorice, leather and oak) flavours offers appeal in this elegant and still fairly closed red.”
4 STARS
-Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com, June 2011

“Opulent nose with dried herb, mint and cassis elements. Plums and chocolate are at the forefront of the palate which is rich in texture and has undercurrents of spice and forest floor. Big, classy wine with huge depth and a silky style.”
5 STARS
TOP TIP
-TiZwine.com, September 2011

“Elegant Gimblett Gravels red, cabernet sauvignon-based (67%). Deeply coloured, with a perfumed, minty, nutty bouquet. Concentrated palate, lithe and supple, with excellent richness, complexity and drinkability.”
-Winestate Magazine, Sep/Oct 2011

“Aromas of oak, spice and wood. Quite dry and restrained with loads of oak showing at this time. The fruit concentration carries it however and with time this wine is sure to develop greater complexity. Youthful and very cassisy, mid-bodied, and well proportioned with strapping tannins. Give it time.”
SHORTLIST
-WineNZ Magazine, Spring 2011

“Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2009 Irongate Cabernet / Merlot / Franc has pronounced aromas of ripe plums, pencil shavings, warm cassis, crushed blackberries and cloves with a touch of cedar. Medium bodied with crisp acid and a medium-firm level of very fine grained tannins, it offers a good concentration of fruit and spice flavors with a long cedar and clove-laced finish. Drink it 2012 to 2020+.”
93 POINTS
-Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #197, Oct 2011

“Grown in the Irongate Vineyard in Gimblett Road, Hawke’s Bay and matured in French oak barriques (30 per cent new), this elegant, complex, firmly structured red is designed for cellaring. The 2009 vintage is a sturdy, rich and flowing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67 per cent), Merlot (25 per cent) and Cabernet Franc (8 per cent). A very stylish wine in the Bordeaux mould, it has deep blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, finely integrated French oak and ripe, supple tannins.”
5 STARS
-Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2012

2008

Grape:

66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were hand-picked, individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skin post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After this time the individual parcels where blended and returned to oak for further maturation. Total time in oak was 18 months.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol: 13.0%
TA: 6.5g/l
pH: 3.48
Residual Sugar: 0g/l

Tasting Notes:

The nose is immediately attractive, sweet and lifted. Dark berry fruits, plums and raspberries are followed wafts of vanilla. Dusty blackberries and dried black cherries layer intricately, alongside cigar box flavours on the palate. It is medium bodied with granular tannins and a pleasant savoury edge. The finish lingers agreeably, reminiscent of dark forest fruits and spice.

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Technical

Grape:

66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2008

Awards

5 STARS, 93 POINTS -Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com, June, 2011

4.5 STARS, 92 POINTS -Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Feb, 2011

4.5 STARS -Winestate Magazine, Michael Cooper, March/April 2011

4 STARS, 18/20 -Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, Jan 2011

4.5 STARS, 92 POINTS -Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Feb, 2011

Reviews

“Still young and will continue to improve. There is excellent fruit weight here with cassis and black cherries leading the charge. Tannins are bold and still a touch chalky and drying. Put some in the cellar and you will be rewarded.”
-TiZwine.com, 30 August 2010

“Notes of culinary herbs on the nose. Palate is dry and moderately weighted with cassis, tobacco and cedar characters. Refined and vinous and showing good concentration on the palate with powerful tannins.”
-WineNZ, Spring 2010

“Elegant, very youthful blend of cabernet sauvignon (66%), merlot (24%) and cabernet franc (10%). Deeply coloured, with pure blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, hints of herbs and coffee, and ripe, supple tannins. Best drinking 2012+.
4.5 STARS
-Winestate Magazine, Michael Cooper, March/April 2011

“Sister wine to the ‘Irongate’ Chardonnay. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from a single vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels, aged 18 months in new and seasoned French oak barrels. This has a full, dark, deep purple hued ruby red colour and a fresh, youthful nose of blackcurrants, cassis, black plums, nuanced by floral perfumes and minerals. At 13.0% alc., this is an elegant, tightly bound wine which has fresh, primary black and red berry fruit flavours framed within a well-proportioned palate structure based on fine-grained, but significant tannins and excellent acidity. Oaking is subtle and perfect, giving a touch of spice and shine. Drink with roast lamb over the next 6-8 years.”
18/20
4 STARS
-Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, Jan 2011

“Classically framed, this is an elegant expression of Irongate displaying ripe cassis, red plum, dried herb and gentle spicy oak characters. The palate is medium-full and beautifully textured with plenty of fine chalky tannins leading to a firm finish. It’s beautifully balanced as always and shows much promise to develop rich gamey complexity. At its best: 2012 to 2018.”
92 POINTS
4.5 STARS
-Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Feb, 2011

“A dense, silken red from the Gimblett Gravels district of Hawke’s Bay. Elegant wine with an array of red berry, cassis, new leather and spice/anise flavours together with an influence of classy oak. Impressive wine with excellent cellaring potential.”
5 STARS
93 POINTS
-Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com, June, 2011

“Serious red with great cellaring potential. A dense, silken wine from the Gimblett Gravels district.”
-Taste Magazine- Best Blended Red, Bob Campbell, August 2011

2007

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Region:

Hawke's Bay

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Recommended Food:

This Babich wine is a brilliant match for red meats, game and pasta dishes. A perfect partner for casseroled lamb shanks or with scotch fillet, roasted rare.

Recommended Cellaring:

4-10 years

Production Notes:

Extensive crop thinning in the Babich Irongate vineyard produced select parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These grapes were individually fermented and hand plunged in open vats before spending an extended time on skin post ferment to aid structural development. The wines were put into new and seasoned French oak and assessed for quality after several months. After this time the individual parcels where blended and returned to oak for further maturation. Total time in oak was 21 months. The blend is 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Franc.

Technical Notes:

Alcohol:
TA:
pH:
Residual Sugar: Dry

Tasting Notes:

The inviting bouquet of blackberries and blueberry pie develops into attractive savoury and earthy notes. Ripe granular tannins are seamlessly integrated with subtle French oak to create excellent texture. Dark berry fruits, tar and leather also please the palate. It is balanced, smooth and even from start to finish. This is a mouth-watering and warm hearted wine of power and balance. A perfect partner for fine dining.

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Technical

Grape:

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard:

Irongate Vineyard - Gimblett Gravels

Year:

2007

Awards

5 STARS -Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2011

5 STARS -Michael Cooper, NZ Listener Magazine – ‘Wine of the Week’ , July, 2010

4 STARS -Winestate Magazine, Oct/Sept 2010 Issue

4 STARS -Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews, Aug 2010

5 STARS, 94 POINTS -Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Aug 2010

Reviews

“Finely fragrant, claret-style red from Hawke’s Bay with rich, blackcurrant-like flavours, seasoned with quality French oak. Classy, very elegant wine with great drinkability.”
5 STARS
-NZ Listener Magazine, ‘Wine of the Week’ Michael Cooper, July, 2010

“Elegant red, not dense and powerful but fragrant, subtle and savoury. Plummy, spicy, slightly earthy flavours, showing good complexity, harmony and depth – and great drinkability.”
4 STARS
-Winestate Magazine, Oct/Sept 2010 Issue

“Ruby, some velvet. Bouquet is lifted by a little VA, to reveal good red berry all married up into generalised berryfruit rather than any clear varietal analogies. In mouth the fruit quality is robustly plummy, not too oaky, making a big fresh cabernet / merlot which is obvious rather than refined, all slightly acid.”
4 STARS
-Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews, Aug 2010

“This impressive Gimblett Gravels red is modelled on the classic Bordeaux rather than opulent New World examples. The nose is beautifully perfumed displaying dark plum, spice, cedar and savoury characters. It’s medium-full-bodied on the palate with a smooth mouthfeel and ripe, firm tannins. A sturdy and structured wine with a lovely ripe fruit back ground.”
5 STARS
94 POINTS
-Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Aug 2010

“The 2007 vintage is notable classy & refined. Deeply coloured, it has pure, blackcurrant-like flavours to the fore, rich and ripe, but not heavy, in a subtle style that will appeal strongly to Bordeaux lovers. Fragrant and savoury, with plummy, spicy, slightly earthy flavours, it offers excellent complexity, harmony and depth – an great drinkability.”
5 STARS
-Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2011

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