Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Hawke’s Bay’s reds from the 2017 vintage are a mixed bag, reflecting the hot, dry summer but wet autumn. Matured for 18 months in French oak barriques (20 per cent new), this blend of Merlot (68 per cent) and Cabernet Sauvignon (32 per cent) is fragrant, full-coloured and fruit-packed, with very good body and depth of vibrant, plummy, spicy flavours. An elegant, still-youthful red, it should be at its best from 2021 onwards. Priced sharply.
Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2017
This striking wine was estate-grown at Waipara, in North Canterbury, hand-picked from mature vines, and fermented and lees-aged for a year in French oak puncheons (30 per cent new). Bright, light yellow/green, with a highly fragrant, slightly smoky bouquet, it is powerful and weighty, with concentrated, ripe grapefruit-like flavours, seasoned with well-integrated oak. A complex wine with a definite ‘wow’ factor, it’s well worth cellaring.