Oyster Bay Merlot – A Little Dirty, a Lot of Good

Oyster Bay Merlot – A Little Dirty, a Lot of GoodAlthough New Zealand and Oyster Bay are both best known for Sauvignon Blanc, it’s the Oyster Bay Merlot that has captured my attention.  I first tasted this Merlot at the first ever North American Wine Blogger’s Talks last October.  At that talks there was an open tasting of 100 wines from New Zealand.  Most of the wines were Sauvignon Blanc, but there were a few red wines in the mix.  I tried this Merlot from Oyster Bay and it instantly had a “wow factor” for me.  I had been tasting grassy Sauvignon Blanc prior to this one, so I wasn’t sure if the wine truly was as excellent as I thought or if my senses had become tainted by all the additional wines.  So… I took note of the wine and plotted to pick some up to taste before long.
When I returned from the talks I set out to find a bottle of this Oyster Bay Merlot and sure enough, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Isn’t that always the case when you know of a specific wine and you set out to find it?  I stopped in several of my favorite wine shops and had no luck.  I had given up on finding this wine, when one day I was relaxed strolling through the wine section at a Kroger grocery store and bam! there it was.  Finally, I can check this thing out with a formal review.
The Oyster Bay brand was made by Delegat’s Wine Estate in 1990 and has gotten numerous accolades over the years.  They are best known for their colorless wines from Marlborough, but also have some vineyards in Hawkes Bay, where this Merlot is produced.  Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine growing province in NZ and the top producer of red wines in the country. Read more