Squawking Magpie 2013 ‘Platinum’ Merlot, Cabernets and Syrah

The ‘Squawking Magpie’ brand was born out of Gavin Yortt’s passion for Hawke’s Bay wine. One of the pioneers in the Gimblett Gravels with the ‘Irongate’ vineyard established in 1981, he planted the 4 ha ‘Woodlands’ vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels in 1995 for his own label, this superseded by a joint venture 20 ha vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels in 1999. This latter vineyard now supplies practically all his needs for the premium Gimblett Gravels bottlings which figures around 2,000 cases of a total of 10,000 under the broader Squawking Magpie brand. Around 100-150 tonnes of fruit go towards Gavin’s wines annually, with the very experienced Jenny Dobson as his winemaker, using the Sacred Hill facilities.

I thought the ‘SQM’ limited edition ultra-premium wines were pretty much the top for Squawking Magpie. I was extremely impressed the 2013 bottlings of Cabernets/Merlot, Merlot/Malbec and Syrah, scoring them all 19.0/20 or higher (click here to see my reviews). The 2013 growing season was described by Gavin as a "true Goldilocks season” when everything was "just right”. The 2013 ‘SQM’ wines are the best Squawking Magpie bottlings I have tasted.

However, Gavin has used the ‘Platinum’ nomenclature with a number of his top-end wines in the past, and sometimes tied with the ‘SQM’ releases, but in 2013, there is a trio of reds that are placed ever higher than the ‘SQM’ 2013s I tasted in October 2015. These are the straight ‘Platinum’ Merlot, Cabernets and Syrah, with a production of only 300 bottles of each. They are priced at $100.00 per bottle, higher than the ‘SQM’ wines. They are only available directly from Squawking Magpie Wines. I review these extremely limited ultra-premium reds here. They are all extremely tight and bound, and need time to open in character, but their inherent quality is very clear. These are fabulous wines for cellaring.

A postscript: The next night, all three wines had opened up and showed a significant improvement.  Aeration will help these wines in their youth.  If I were to score the wines again, their ratings would be even higher, but I cannot change my methodology.  All of the wines I review are scored in a similar time frame, that being in the first hour or so of them being poured into the glass.  www.squawkingmagpie.co.nz


  • Squawking Magpie ‘Platinum’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2013
  • Squawking Magpie ‘Platinum’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernets 2013
  • Squawking Magpie ‘Platinum’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013

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