edited by Sue Courtney
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Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Is this wine one of New Zealand's best value red wines currently available? I certainly think so. It is the Matua Valley Matheson Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from the stony red metal soils of the Matheson Vineyard within the Ngatarawa area of Hawkes Bay.
The fruit was harvested in excellent condition after a long dry summer that produced some wonderfully ripe grapes, full of flavour, then trucked to the Matua Valley winery in Auckland to be made into wine by talented winemaker Mark Robertson and his crew.
I was lucky enough to be at the vineyard the day the merlot was taken from the fermentation tanks and pressed. I smelt and tasted the vibrantly coloured baby wine with its delicious primary fruit characters of plums and chocolates.
I chewed the spent grape skins that were pressed from their juices and thought what a fantastic fruit leather snack they would make with their berry plum flavours and a licorice, leathery complexity.
Now in my glass is possibly a portion of that baby wine I tried some seventeen months ago, for the Matua Matheson Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2000 is 40% merlot blended with 60% cabernet sauvignon.
It's an impressive full-bodied creamy-textured wine, deep crimson red in colour with cedary vanillin oak, juicy blackcurrant and plum fruit, hints of chocolate, sweet fruit leather and a ripe, spiced berry finish that lingers for ages.
It has an alcohol by volume of 12.5% and a tad of residual sugar, (2.2%).
With a recommended retail of $NZ19.45, the wine should be widely available and competitively priced depending where you shop. If you are in Auckland, why not pop out to the Matua Valley Winery in Waikoukou Road, Waimauku - just north of Kumeu - this holiday Labour Weekend. There's a few other wineries out that way worth visiting too.
For further information about the company, check out www.matua.co.nz.
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