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Wine of the Week for week ending 15 Aug 2010
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Sacred Hill Halo Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2008
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

When I think of Hawkes Bay wine producer Sacred Hill I immediately think of their iconic wines like Rifleman's Chardonnay, Brokenstone Merlot, Helmsman Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and Deerstalker's Syrah. Truly delicious Hawkes Bay wines, the reds especially with a little age to soften the tannins, and the Rifleman's Chardonnay, yum, always one of my favourites each year. But at the prices they fetch today they really are a special occasion outlay.

The Halo tier is a relatively new addition to the Sacred Hill range and unlike the icon wines, they are more of a proposition for every day.

Of all the Halo wines I've tried, the new release Halo Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2008 is probably the best yet. Perhaps it's because 2008 was a superb Merlot year. But 2008 was a year when the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Sacred Hill Helmsman was not made so the Cabernet Sauvignon originally destined for the prestige label went into this Halo wine instead

The deep purple red, almost black coloured Halo Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2008 is a concentrated smelling red with aromas of berries, cedar, liquorice and leather and a full-bodied savoury palate with blackberries, plums and hints of leather. I like the oak regime in this wine and the fine-textured velvety tannins and the richness of fruit on the finish - and it is even more delicious when accompanied with a rich, tasty cheese. The wine has 13% alcohol and a recommended retail of $25.90.

I tasted the Sacred Hill icon wines the other day, too, when winemaker Tony Bish popped into town. One of the icons could easily have been the Wine of the Week if tasted in a home situation with a meal. But for now you can read about them on my blog - at this link.

Find out more about the Halo wines and others from

© Sue Courtney
10 Aug 2010

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