Beautiful hand-crafted wines from Gisborne, New Zealand

TW Malbec Merlot


Malbec – Merlot is a blend of two grape varieties native to Bordeaux, but which have now both found homes in various New World wine regions. Malbec, the full-bodied, vibrant mainstay of Cahors and Mendoza, is often ameliorated with the rounded, plummy flavors of Merlot. Malbec – Merlot blends tend to represent a modern style of winemaking, with even French producers creating fruit-forward examples.

Both Malbec and Merlot are a part of the traditional Bordeaux Blend, and are both officially sanctioned for use in that region’s most famous appellations. However, while Merlot still dominates vineyard plantings there (alongside Cabernet Sauvignon), Malbec has largely been eradicated from the region’s vineyards. A severe frost in 1956 killed off a sizable portion of Bordeaux’s Malbec vines, which were subsequently replaced with more frost-resistant varieties.

Malbec and Merlot blending

Malbec’s French home is in the vineyards of Cahors, which can be found a little way to the southeast of Bordeaux. Here, Malbec must make up the majority of the blend, with Merlot (along with Tannat) acting as a kind of insurance policy. Malbec – Merlot blends from Cahors tend to be more rustic in style than examples from other parts of the world, but changing trends have seen a shift toward cleaner, more modern-styled wines.

Malbec – Merlot blends are becoming more and more popular in New Zealand, although Merlot tends to dominate in this case. Malbec is often used to give structure to Merlot-based wines.

Food matches for Malbec – Merlot wines include:

  • Traditional beef casserole
  • Grilled rib-eye steak
  • Cumin-rubbed lamb pitas


TW Merlot Malbec Wines

TW Buxom Red 2007

Wonderfully dense garnet in colour, this wine shows concentrated aromas of sweet black currants and Doris plum. The palate offers the same sweet black fruit wrapped in silky tannins. The finish is long with lingering flavours of vanilla spice.

The Merlot and Malbec grapes for this wine were hand harvested and then destemmed to small open fermenters. The ferments were gently hand plunged three times daily to gently extract tannin and colour. Indigenous yeasts were used to maximise fruit and complexity. Once complete, the separate varieties were gently pressed and put to American barriques for malolactic fermentation. After 14 months barrel maturation, the wines were blended and carefully fined with fresh egg white before bottling.

TW Dr Rod Malbec 2010

Inky deep purple, the intensity of this wine’s colour hints at the intensity of aromas and flavours to come. Aromas of dehydrated cranberries, pink peppercorns and sweet tamarillo chutney introduce flavours of ripe blackcurrant, liquorice and mixed spice. The palate is rich and velvety, ensuring that these flavours linger well after your wine has joined your food.

After a wonderful summer, the grapes for this wine were carefully hand harvested and detsemmed to one small open top fermenter where it was inoculated with yeast specific for Malbec, to maximise this variety’s inherent spice and complexity. The ferment was hand plunged three times daily and once dry, the wine was pressed and briefly settled before being transferred to American oak barriques for malolactic fermentation and maturation. After 15 months maturation, this wine needed no extra fining to enhance it before being filtered and botted.

TW Merlot 2013

The inky garnet hue immediately conveys the superb 2013 vintage. Complex aromas of ripe black cherry, liquorice, currant and blackberry lead into a palate brimming with flavour. Silky in structure, the palate offers flavours of juicy black cherry and tree ripened plum.

Selectively hand harvested in the cool of the morning, the Merlot bunches were crushed and destemmed before being fermented in stainless steel fermenters with Merlot specific yeast. Mixed twice daily to maximise gentle colour and tannin extraction, this wine was pressed at dryness for malolactic fermentation and oak integration. After 17 months barrel maturation this wine was traditionally fined with fresh egg white, filtered and bottled.



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