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Featured Reviews

Red Barrel Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015

07 November,2018

John and Juliette Lockie operate the boutique Havelock North vineyard and winery operation of Red Barrel. With a background of Hawke’s Bay winegrowing, they purchased the established 2.6 ha of vines, keeping the Merlot and Syrah, and replacing the Cabernet Sauvignon with Chardonnay to represent the most successful varieties of the region. The wines are made by Dave McKee of Black Barn, just over the road, and stylistically the Lockies prefer wines which are rich and bold, and incorporate complexity showing at an early of the development. I’ve found the wines also faithfully reflect the growing season. Here, I review the newly released 2015 Merlot. The wine is a more fruit-focussed and elegant wine than the powerful, oakier 2014 bottling.


Red Barrel Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with good depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is a little restrained but unfolds to show good depth and fruit focus, with softly packed, harmoniously interwoven aromas of dark-red and black berry and plum fruit with nuances of dark herbs, a hint of tobacco and nutty oak suggestions. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and positive heart of gently sweet dark-red and black berry fruit with earthy plums and dark herbal elements with a little florality emerging. The fruit is supported by moderately grainy tannin extraction lending structure and grip, with lacy acidity lending freshness and energy to the mouthfeel. The wine carries to an elegant finish. This is a sweetly rich Merlot with dark-red berry and plum flavours, and subtle herb notes on a grainy textured palate with freshness. Match with roasted red meats over the next 5-6 years. 100% Merlot from the ‘Red Barrel’ home vineyard, hand-picked and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 27 days on skins and aged 18 months in tank and 15% new French oak, blended and given a further 6 months in tank. 17.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $25.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

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