In the mood for something different, I pulled this bottle from the cellar recently. You can’t get more different than a Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot blend from some place called Gimblett Gravels.
This wine is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 2% Malbec. It comes from Hawkes Bay. Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine producing region in New Zealand after Marlborough. It’s known for producing high quality Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay – as well as the beautiful Hawkes Bay itself.
Gimblett Gravels is a wine growing region with a special terroir that produces some of the world’s finest full-bodied red wines. It is identified by gravelly soils laid down by the old Ngaruroro River, which were exposed after a huge flood in the 1860's. It’s a relatively new region, with the first red grapes being planted in 1981.
Villa Maria was founded in 1961 and has grown to a global brand exporting wine to 250 countries. In 2001 Villa Maria became “cork-free” and all bottles use screw caps.
This is a delightful wine that I scored as part of a “mystery half case” bought online. Based on the overall price, this wine cost a miniscule $9.99 – and its taste was huge. (I scored a deal because you can typically expect to pay $30 to $40 dollars for it.)
Through bottle age, the Reserve Cabernet-Merlot has softened to a delicious smoothness rife with cherry and plum and a smattering of herbs. This is a wine with a finish that hangs on and on. It’s a wonderful sipping experience.
Looks like Gimblett Gravels is the “go to” location for quality reds in New Zealand!
Rating: 4 of 5 Value: 4 of 5