Ngatarawa ‘Stables Reserve’ 2016 Whites, Rosé and Reds
Three International Wines from Great Little Vineyards
Blind River and Lawson’s Dry Hills ‘Reserve’ 2016 Pinot Noirs
Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
Raimat Spanish Wines from Lawson’s Dry Hills
Neudorf ‘Rosie’s Block’ Chardonnay 2017
Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Misha’s Vineyard ‘The High Note’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Quarter Acre Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017
Millton ‘Les Trois Enfants’ 2017
Maui Waipara Pinot Noir 2016
Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Escarpment Vineyard 2016 Martinborough, ‘Kiwa’, ‘Te Rehua’ and ‘Kupe’ Pinot Noirs
Mount Brown 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir
Decibel Wines 2017 Sauvignon, and 2016 Rosé, Pinot Noir, Malbec and ‘Testify’
Coco di Mama 2016 Terre Siciliane Grillo and Syrah
Mt Beautiful 2017 Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, and 2016 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
McArthur Ridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Dunleavy ‘The Strip’ Waiheke Island Cabernet/Merlot 2015
Wooing Tree 2017 ‘Beetle Juice’ and 2013 ‘Sandstorm Reserve’ Pinot Noirs
Terrace Edge 2017 North Canterbury Albarino and Pinot Gris
Anna’s Way Marlborough 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris
Obsidian 2016 ‘Estate’ Syrah, ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay 2017, Viognier 2015, ‘Mayor’ 2016 and ‘Obsidian’ 2014
Mills Reef ‘Elspeth’ 2015 Chardonnay and 2016 Merlot
Jean Josselin ‘Cuvee des Jean’ NV and Blanc de Blancs 2013 Champagne
// View More Featured Reviews

Featured Reviews

The Gabion Matakana Cabernet Franc Merlot 2010 and 2011

28 April,2017
The Gabion is a Bordeaux-varietal blended red from Matakana. The Gabion Vineyard is situated at Te Kie Point at the south end of Omaha on the Matakana Coast, and is owned by Mark Ching, a significant operator in the shipping industry. The vineyard site which measures just over 2 ha has 1.7 ha of vines, 69% to Cabernet Franc and 31% to Merlot. The vineyard was established in 2002 with planting to 2004 to release the first vintage in 2006. Tracy Haslam, best known for her neighbouring Ti Point vineyard and label made the wines from 2006 to 2013, with Richard Robson taking on the winemaking duties from 2014 to 2016. James Graham was appointed for the 2017 vintage, but only a rosé wine has been made in this challenging vintage. A maximum of 400 cases of wine are made annually, which finds its way to selected local and Auckland restaurants. The wines are also distributed by Dhall and Nash. Here, I review the 2010 vintage of The Gabion, named ‘Rachel’s Block’, along with the yet-to-be-released 2011 vintage (the block name still to be announced). The wines bear more than a passing resemblance to high quality Right Bank Bordeaux reds. The 2010 shows n outstanding vintage, and the 2011 shows skilful winemaking in a more difficult year. Both wines are outstanding.  For availability enquiries, Email:


The Gabion ‘Rachel’s Block’ Matakana Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2010

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

Dark, deep, garnet-red colour with black-red hues, lighter on the rim with a little bricking. The bouquet is elegantly full and well-proportioned with intensely packed aromas of lively blackcurrant and redcurrant fruit along with complexing layers of savoury, secondary dried herb and tobacco notes, along with fresh herbs, earth and nutty oak elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate is densely concentrated with a solid core of ripe, dark-red and black-berried fruits along with complex died herb, tobacco and earthy flavours. The mouthfeel is one of real depth, density and presence, with the fruit encased by considerable fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction. The acidity is integrated, enhancing the completeness and fulsome breadth of the wine. The flavours carry to a concentrated, long and sustained finish of dark fruits and complex, savoury tobacco and earth nuances. This is a solidly concentrated and densely packed Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend with dark fruit flavours and complex secondary layers. Match with game meat and casseroles, and with firm cheese over the next 9-10+ years. A blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot from the ‘Gabion’ vineyard fermented to 13.6% alc., the wine aged a year in 30% new French oak. 19.0/20 Apr 2017RRP $35.00

The Gabion Matakana Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2011

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-red colour with garnet hues on the rim. This has a full and well-concentrated nose of ripe, savoury, blackberry and redcurrant fruit harmoniously entwined with aromas of fruit-cake, dried herbs, earth and cedary elements. The fruit has fragrance, freshness and intensity. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and sweet with well-concentrated flavours of ripe, dark-red berry fruit with notes of plums, fruit-cake, herbs, earth and cedar. The mouthfeel is juicy and the fruit vibrancy enhanced by lacy acidity. The flavours are underlined by fine-grained, supple tannin extraction, and the palate is composed and balanced. The fruit and structure carry the wine to a very long, lingering finish. This is a well-concentrated, vibrantly sweet-fruited Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend with dark-red berry and plum fruit with savoury fruit-cake earth and cedar complexities on a well-balanced, fine-structured palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6-8+ years. A blend of 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot from the ‘Gabion’ vineyard, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged a year in one-third new French oak. The ‘Block’ name has yet to be added to the label. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $32.99
Copyright © 2011 Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
Website by DataFlex | Design by Skinny