I always keep a few Merlot bottles in my cellar, for above reasons, but not many. I came across the 1999 Trinity Hill Merlot Gimblett Road on one of my trips to New Zealand and liked it then. I still do.
This wine is medium bodied. The redcurrant fruit has mellowed and the well integrated oak sits in the background. As a result, secondary characters now dominate, tasting of forest floor, yet quite elegant. The wine has beautiful texture with some acidity left.
This Merlot is not overly concentrated, and the mouthfeel a little thin, but the wine supports food really well.
The gravels of Hawkes Bay seem to work for Merlot, as my other New Zealand Merlot favorites come from this area, Craggy Range and the Unison blend. Brian Croser makes good Merlot in Australia, but who else?