Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon Blends

Complex, powerful, approachable. Cabernet Sauvignon's structure and finesse meets Merlot's vibrant fruit expression.

The best of these wines offer the complexity developed over life-spans of a decade or more & the plush tannins for near-immediate gratification.” Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, USA

By augmenting the structure and finesse of Cabernet Sauvignon with the vibrant, ripe fruit of Merlot, winemakers in New Zealand’s warmer northerly regions are creating elegant, yet powerfully intense, red wine blends. Increasingly Merlot domininant and notable for their purity of fruit expression, these blends are exciting and approachable when enjoyed young, but are also worth holding onto as they acquire complexity with age.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends have a long history in New Zealand, dating back to the mid 1800s.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon emerged as a major red variety in New Zealand in the late 1960s/early 1970s with Merlot emerging much later, in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • More than 80% of plantings are found in Hawke’s Bay and Auckland/ Northland.
11 5% 1.5%

Food Matching

A superb food wine, these blends are noteable for their purity of fruit expression. Approachable when young, complex, leathery and gamey with age. Delicious partnered with red meats and game or winter casseroles, and sumptuous with a strong cheese.


  • Cheese
  • Game Birds
  • Red Meat, Game & Venison


  • Garlic
  • Tomato


  • Savoury

Cellaring & Serving

2-5 years

Serving Temperature



Typical regional styles

Climate is the major factor in the distinction of regional styles.

CLIMATE: predominantly grown in the warmer regions of Auckland/Northland and Hawke’s Bay which get extended heat accumulation due to lower diurnal temperature variation.

SOILS: Whilst Auckland has primarily clay-rich soils, Hawke’s Bay has a huge diversity of soils with river terraces comprising of volcanic loess, alluvial silts and deep river gravels.

Planting data

Merlot plantings in the last 12 years





Cab-Sav plantings in the last 12 years





SOURCE: New Zealand Winegrower's Vineyard Register Report & Annual Report

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