Wine: Classy combinations

By Yvonne Lorkin

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Mixing grapes is a work of art for these vineyards

Esk Valley The Hillside Hawke's Bay Malbec Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 $69

Esk Valley's "The Terraces" is a magical blend of fruit grown in a tiny, 28-year-old terraced vineyard overlooking the winery. Occasionally there are stunning parcels of wine that don't make it into the final blend and winemaker Gordon Russell has decided to create this, a sister blend called Hillside. Rich, powerful and erupting with dark fruit, biscuity spices, cedar, smoke and studded with seductive bouquet garni herbs, it's a joy to drink.

Sip with: baked tomato and chorizo hotpot.

Also available at for a limited time.

Flying Sheep Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $35

Crafted by the talented team at Osawa Wines comes this berry-focused, plum-packed and velvety textured red. I love the red fruit, pepper and dried herb layers that are stitched together with solid acidity and sinewy tannins.

Sip with: truffled beef tournedos.

Sticks Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 $29

Here's an ultra-fresh, leafy cabernet that's loaded with blackberry, boysenberry and ribsticking raspberry notes. The acidity is gentle, yet adds to the powdery grip of the tannins around your back teeth. There's even a smidge of roast beetroot and cocoa powder on the finish also.

Sip with: venison burgers.
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Note: We make bonza Bordeaux blends Downunder, but if you want to spend 10 days touring the real place with me in May,, search for the keyword "Yvonne" - et voila!

- Canvas

Yvonne Lorkin is co-founder and chief tasting officer of and a Wine Writers of NZ member.

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