Ataahua Merlot 2017

  • Very elegant & complex, with generous, concentrated ripe plum and blackberry flavours.
  • Hand-picked from mature vines in the heart of the Waipara Valley, on Church Road.
  • A finely structured & smooth finish, complemented by hints of liquorice, spice and toasted oak.
  • 1 or more bottles
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  • Michael Cooper
    4 points

Editors notes

A deliciously full bodied red, hand-picked from mature vines in the heart of the Waipara Valley, on Church Road. Very elegant & complex, with generous, concentrated ripe plum and blackberry flavours. A finely structured & smooth finish, complemented by hints of liquorice, spice and toasted oak.


Tasting Profile

  • Light (Light)
    Full (Full)
  • Low Tannin (Low Tannin)
    Tannic (Tannic)
  • Sweet (Sweet)
    Dry (Dry)
  • Low Acidity (Low Acidity)
    High Acidity (High Acidity)
  • Aroma
    • Cassis
    • Plum
    • Red Fruits
  • Palate
    • Cherry
    • Plum
    • Redcurrant

Food Pairings

  • Pork
  • Red Meat

Critic Scores & reviews

  • Michael Cooper

    "Showing good density, this North Canterbury red was hand-picked from mature vines and barrel-aged for over a year. Full-coloured, it is fresh and full-bodied, with generous, plummy, spicy, slightly nutty flavours, savoury notes adding complexity and a finely structured, smooth finish. Well worth cellaring, it should be at its best 2022+."

Other vintages

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New Zealand

The New Zealand wine industry is one of the younger wine regions in the world, whose popularity grew immensely when Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc hit the world wine scene, quite unique in style when compared to the typical French Sancerre.

Wine is successfully cultivated on both the North and South islands from a latitude of 36 degrees in the North to 45 degrees for the most southerly wine region in the world, the South Island's Central Otago. The majority of regions are located in free-draining alluvial valleys except for Waiheke Island and Kawarau Gorge in Central Otago and benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate as no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean. With plentiful sunshine hours and cool evening sea breezes, the grapes thrive.

Sauvignon Blanc is the major white variety people will think of when you mention New Zealand Whites, however fantastic Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and less commonly Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red variety in New Zealand although Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot (Bordeaux Blends), Syrah are also grown and in even smaller amounts, Tempranillo and Montepulcianos can too be found. Sparkling wines of very high standards are also made in New Zealand.

The key wine regions in New Zealand include Auckland, Canterbury, Central Otago, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Nelson.


Waipara is located only 40 mins north of Christchurch city, the capital of the South Island. It is the fastest growing wine region in all of New Zealand with over 1,200 hectares across 80 vineyards already planted. The region receives certain protections from cool easterly winds in the form of the Teviotdale hills, which still allows the warmer northerly winds in.

The region has three general sites; the valley floor, the river terraces and the hill slopes. Across the region the main red variety grown is Pinot Noir, followed by the white grape Riesling, both of which are very suited to the gravelly, limestone derived clay soils in the region. Other whites grown include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay. Waipara can lay claim to having the highest summer temperatures, and the lowest overall rainfall of any wine growing region in the land.

"Canterbury's stunning Waipara region is one of the unsung heroes of the wine industry" - Bob Campbell MW.


Waipara is a cool-climate subregion of North Canterbury in the wine-producing region of Canterbury on New Zealand’s South Island. The climate here is a little bit warmer than that of the rest of the region, thanks to the wind protection it receives from the Teviotdale Hills. Waipara experiences long, sunny autumns that are ideal for fruit ripening; however, the area is susceptible to damaging frosts. Soil types range from gravelly, sandy loam to a mix of clay loam and limestone. The most popular grape varieties in Waipara are Pinot Noir – for which the subregion has recently developed a fine reputation – Riesling, and Chardonnay.

About the brand Ataahua

Ataahua is certified sustainable and focused on producing delicious wines that are made in a sustainable way in both the vineyard and winery.

They are focussed on taking great care of the land and environment for future generations. Going forward we are aiming to become Carbon Neutral and plan on planting native species in strategic places to encourage regenerative growth of flora and fauna. They are aware that ensuring a future for the wine industry in New Zealand relies on it being financially viable and sustainable.

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