Joelle Thomson's Amazing Value Picks: The big red mix
by Abby Jones
One thing is clear when it comes to big reds; New Zealand has one major region and a couple of minor regions that does blockbuster wine styles well, namely, Hawke’s Bay and the far north.
The reds from there are modelled mostly on Bordeaux. This means Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a smidgeon of Cabernet Franc, a miniscule amount of Malbec and a particularly tiny amount of Petit Verdot - when the season is warm enough to ripen this opaque black grape.
When it comes to wines at everyday prices, the following bunch are hard to beat. They come from the far north of New Zealand, from Argentina (world’s HQ of Malbec) and from the world’s biggest fine wine region, Bordeaux in south west France; home to Merlot and its Cabernet cousins. For a cheeky bit bodied red, this bunch are hard to beat on price and quality.
Star wine of the week -2017 Trapiche Pure Malbec 100% Unoaked
4 Stars, 17/20
Mendoza is the world HQ for the black grape of Cahors, also known as Cot in south west France where Malbec originally comes from.
This wine is bold crimson in colour with a youthful brightness and, likewise, lovely fresh flavours of dark berries, which put Malbec’s fruitiest foot forward and allow this grape’s naturally spicy tones to shine. Big bold and smooth. Sealed with a screwcap. View here.
2015 Hinemoa Estate Niko Malbec Omaha Beach
3.5 Stars, 17/20
Deep ruby, clear and youthful on the rim with powerful dark fruit flavours and a bold spicy overtone. Complex layers of dark fruit flavours give this wine its shine and X factor. Very good quality from a surprising corner of the wine planet – Omaha, north of Auckland.
2014 Chateau Rider-Chenu-Lafitte Bordeaux AOC
Chocolately, dark, rich and full. This five year old Bordeaux shows what aging great reds is all about; rounded, savoury and complex, it’s a wine that ticks all the boxes of late night deliciousness and lots of early evening ones too, especially when served with delicious roasted flavours. This is great value for money and super tasty right now. All the aging has been done for us. View here.
2017 Alexis Lichine & Co Saint-Emilion AOP
3 Stars, 16/20
Saint-Emilion is one of the great southern French wine appellations on the right bank of Bordeaux and famous for its dark reds in which Cabernet Franc often plays a starring role. This wine is medium bodied, fresh and lively with a couple more years of aging up its youthful vinous sleeve. It drinks well now and even better when decanted and served with roasted vegetables. View here.
2018 Cape Spring Western Cape Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
3 Stars, 16/20
South Africa is one of the great under rated wine regions of the world and home to many of the great classic deep red grape vareities, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which combine in this medium bodied, fresh and fruit driven red wine. It’s a great entry level red with notes of complexity adding interest in taste. Sealed with a screwcap. View here.
2016 Chateau Vieux Laroque Bordeaux AOP
This ruby coloured red is smooth and spicy with flavours of fresh cedar, red berries and a light smoky note. It comes from France’s biggest fine wine region, Bordeaux, home to good value wines such as this one. View here.
Joelle Thomson is a wine writer, journalist and author. She’s an avid lover of wine and currently writes for Capital magazine, Good magazine, NZ Winegrower, Drinksbiz, and her own site,www.joellethomson.com.
She also teaches, works in radio, and more, so we've enlisted her help to sniff out our amazing value wines!