2015 Elephant Hill "Le Phant Rouge" Red Blend Hawke's Bay (Previously $20)

SKU #1297209 93 points Sam Kim

 A gorgeous merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah blend, the fragrant nose shows blackcurrant, dark plum, cedar and mixed spice aromas with hints of cigar and vanilla notes. The palate is beautifully weighted and rounded, and offers silky mouthfeel backed by fine, chalky tannins. Wonderful balance and generosity. At its best: now to 2020.

91-92 points Raymond Chan

 Full, very dark, black-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and gently concentrated with aromas of dark-red and black plums along with subtle notes of redcurrants and blackcurrants, along with an amalgam of earth and spices, Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and succulent flavours of dark-red and black plums entwined with notes of curranty fruit, herbs and earth, unfolding liquorice and spice elements. The fruit sweetness is balanced by finem grainy tannin structure, with good underlying acidity providing drive and line. The wine carries positively to a sustained finish of black plums with growing grip. This is a rich dark-red and black plum fruited red blend with grainy tannin structure and linearity. Match with barbecued and roasted red meats over the next 5-6+ years. A blend of 69% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec from the company’s Gimblett, Te Awanga and Triangle vineyards, fermented to 13.5% alc. and aged 12 months in 15% new oak.

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Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
This represents so much of what I love about the wines we are bringing in from NZ, beautiful new world fruit done with old world elegance. Elephant Hill is one of my favorite wineries in this area (and is a spectacular place to visit from what I hear) and this red blend is one of the reasons for that. Dark, rich berry notes are balanced by plenty of acid that never feels out of balance. Notes of licorice and eucalyptus play against the red and black berry and are surrounded by silky tannins, and at only 13.5 abv and under $20 this is a perfect wine to stock up on. You can drink this beauty now or hold on to it, or just get enough to do both.

Staff Image By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/19/2017 | Send Email
This is a killer BBQ wine and should not only be at all of your Summer parties all season long, but can take you into Fall and Winter as well thanks to the deep, slightly spicy fruits. Even though Hawke's Bay is one pf the warmer appellations of New Zealand, it is still quite cool, thanks to its very southerly position on the globe. This ensures that all of its wines retain a good amount of acidity, which means you can produce a killer red blend like this at only 13.5% alcohol. The red shows great structure, but is not heavy or flabby thanks to that preserved acidity. The different characters from the 3 vineyards play epically into this and give great depth and character. This is definitely something I will be drinking over the months to come.

Staff Image By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/18/2017 | Send Email
This lovely little quaffer is one of the best cross overs in NZ right now. It has lots of life and some good structure, but isn't ultra minty or eucalyptus. Great ripeness paired with elegant structure. Dark current, some plummy notes, and an easy earthy spice on the finish. This is one that almost any red wine lover can easily get behind. Love Bordeaux, you'll probably like this. Cali Cab? No doubt this is in your range. A very easy wine to love.

Staff Image By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/13/2017 | Send Email
This is one of my favorite $20 reds in the store! I would be happy to find a Bordeaux style blend of this caliber for under $30, but at this price I'm thrilled. Stylistically, this wine sits at a juncture between a polished, modern fruit-forward expression, and an iconic, structured, traditional take. The wine can appeal to both California Cab lovers, and Bordeaux enthusiasts. However, there's a twist! Elephant Hill also incorporates a small amount of Syrah, which adds just the right amount of black pepper spice to make this an all-around stellar selection for almost any occasion.

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.