Dark and bright, Awatea Cabernets-Merlot 2018 is an inky purple with an electric crimson edge. From a warm and dry vintage, Awatea 2018 shows ripe blackberry and blackcurrant aromatics with elements of vanilla creme and sandalwood. On the palate there’s a banquet of plum, raspberry, dried herbs and lingering dark cherry, set out across cedar and cocoa powder tannins. Classical in structure, with fine balance and length, Awatea Cabernets-Merlot 2018 is resplendent in its purity and detail.

The separate parcels of grapes were destemmed before a traditional warm, plunged fermentation and extended maceration on skins. The resulting wines were then run to new and seasoned French oak barrels for 16 months of aging. Throughout this time, they were regularly topped and racked. The separate wines were blended in January 2019, then returned to barrel for their second winter. The finished wine was bottled in October 2019.

Varietal Composition: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc

  • Size: .750L


95, Wine Enthusiast

This is an excellent bottling of Awatea, the younger brother of Te Mata’s top red, Coleraine. From a long, warm growing season, this feels like a complete wine. Winter warming notes of plump plums, dark cherries and chocolate are complemented by a bounty of dried herbs, spices and graphite. The palate is similarly dense and structured but with elegance and balance. Tannins are powdery and fine, winding through dark, tangy fruit and herbs. Like many of Te Mata’s wines, it has an old school Bordeaux vibe that will appeal more to some than to others.

93, James Suckling

There’s a very attractive, cedary edge to this with red cherries, redcurrants and blueberries, as well as darker plum and cocoa notes. The palate is so composed and fresh and has a vivid, detailed and neatly layered feel. Drinks well now, as it will for the next six to eight years.

92, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

A blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Awatea Cabernets-Merlot is a bit leafy on the nose, with herbal, tobacco-tinged aromas accenting cassis and black cherries. It’s medium to full-bodied and supple on the palate, finishing long, silky and mouthwatering.

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