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Maimai Merlot 2012

Merlot from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
  • WW91
13% ABV
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4.0 5 Ratings
13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Clear brick red with bright pink hues in the glass. On the nose, lifted aromas of dark berries and plums. Soft fruit with a lingering palate of black cherries, plums and a hint of spice. Soft tanninsand a long juicy finish.

Enjoy with all red meats, game, pasta and cheese dishes.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 91
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The 2012 Maimai Merlot is the quintessential example of the grape. Doesn't try to take on the world by becoming a power or oaky wine, just a honest, top-level effort. Medium ruby color; ripe fruit and dust in the aroma, really right on in the nose; medium bodied, dry, fine acidity, bright fruity flavors; active aftertaste. Drinks well now. (Tasted: January 12, 2015
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Maimai

Maimai

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Maimai, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Maimai is the wine label of Stirling Vines Limited of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Stirling Vines is a family run enterprise that began grape growing operations in 1994, supplying grapes to large wineries in New Zealand, primarily Sauvignon Blanc. In early 2002 the decision was made to market a portion of their own fruit under their own label, Maimai. Managed by Mal McLennan, Stirling Vines comprises two vineyards - Stirling vineyard located in Meeanee, and, the Sally's Field vineyard in Bridge Pa. Maimai produces a range of white and red wines from two vineyards in Hawke's Bay, with Sauvignon Blanc being grown in the cooler area of Meeanee, and Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, and Syrah being grown in the hotter regions surrounding Hastings.

About Stiring VinesThe name Maimai derives from a small stream that used to run along side of the eastern boundary of our Meeanee property that we as children named “the creek.” In times of drought this creek was often a source of water for stock and water fowl. At some time in the early 1960's a maimai (hunting blind) was built and the creek became known as Maimai Creek.

Hawkes Bay

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An eclectic region on the east coast of the North Island, Hawkes Bay extends from wide, fertile, coastal plains, inland, to the coast range, whose peaks reach as high as 5,300 feet. While the flatter areas were historically more popular because they are easier to cultivate, their alluvial soils can be too fertile for vines. In the late 20th century, the drive for quality led growers to the hills where soils are free-draining, limestone-rich and more suited to producing high quality wines.

Over the passing of time, the old Ngaruroro River laid down deep, gravelly beds, which were subsequently exposed after a huge flood in the 1860’s. In the 1980s growers identified this stretch, which continues for approximately 800 ha, and named it the Gimblett Gravels. The zone has proven to be ideal for the production of excellent red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

Today the area takes well-earned recognition for its Bordeaux blends and other reds. Expressive of intense stewed red and black berry with gentle herbaceous characters, Gimblett Gravels wines are suggestive of their cool climate origin, and on par with other top-notch Bordeaux blends around the globe.

Chardonnay is the top white grape in Hawkes Bay, making elegant wines, strong in stone fruit character. Sauvignon blanc comes in close behind, notable for its tropical, fruit forward qualities.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

PPW138783_2012 Item# 138783