Te Mata Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernets 2018


This is my kind of Cabernet: Pure of fruit, clean and will become glorious with time in the bottle.

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Te Mata makes some of the best Cabernet-based wines from New Zealand. They were established in 1896 so the practice is paying off. Their original three vineyards are still in use with the holdings having expanded significantly.

This classic blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc is delicious. Red, blue, and black fruits, floral, elegant, fine-grained tannins. It is textbook Cabernet Blend. It gets better over a couple of nights too. I would believe this wine will benefit from a rest in the bottle. I’d drink it now or leave it until after 2025.

Hawkes Bay

A flagship region of the North Island of New Zealand. The terroirs can be quite diverse allowing producers to excel at Cabernet (and blends), Syrah and Chardonnay.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The noble variety of Bordeaux’s left bank. Firm tannins, a streak of acidity and punctuated by flavours of cassis, violets, spice and leather. The best examples can age for the long-term. Although Cabernet does often require blending with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz to fix the hole it has in its middle palate.


It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus they are almost not needed.

Cabernet Franc

Is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!).  It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux but also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red in colour, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.

Petit Verdot

Often the fifth wine on the depth chart of Bordeaux’s magical quintet. In the great years, it is an amazing variety to work with, but often in the great years, it is not needed. It can add body, structure and acidity but lacks some charm for a single variety wine. But in the hands of a skilful blender, it can really lift a wine or in some cases, a particular site can make Petit Verdot sing a song like no other.

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