MAJOR STOKE – International Trophy win for our Quarter Acre Syrah

Breaking news from Rod McDonald Wines

In breaking news (well, breaking for you, we’ve had it on hold for a couple of weeks now…), we can tell you that our little old Quarter Acre 2015 Syrah has just taken out the trophy for the Best International Syrah in London at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). Not only that, but it also went and won the trophies for best New Zealand Syrah, Best New Zealand Red and Best Hawke’s Bay Syrah. A magnificent four-trophy-haul, with the Best NZ Red and Best International being a particularly big deal by my way of thinking.

The IWC is as prestigious as it gets, it’s a truly international competition that’s meticulously judged blind by some of the best in the business. Apparently the Quarter Acre was up against 1200 plus other gold medal winning wines across the four categories, and it took out all four trophies. Hard to fathom.

This is the biggest award I’ve ever won and it’s a really big deal for us. But it’s also a big win for New Zealand on a vast international stage, so we’re all pretty stoked, proud, amazed and grateful. One person doesn’t make the wine alone, we all know that, and although it’s my name on the bottle we’ve a small bunch of committed wine people here at RMW who all work their butts off, taking risks, crafting, wrangling, organising and grafting away all towards the same goal of making the best bloody wine we can. As risky as it may seem at the time, these awards are a real-life confirmation that we’re doing something right and this is what people want to see more of…wines that have quality at their core, but have enough personality to shine in a room full of top notch wines.

Thanks to those of you who return to buy our wine time and time (and time!) again. You grease the machine and allow us to continue. Hand on heart, thank you.

That’s all for now. I’m in China at the moment on a New Zealand Wine and Hawke’s Bay Wine trade tour, heading home in a week, but for now I may just have to go and have a couple of impressively large beers to celebrate!

Cheers, Rod

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Winemakers happy overall with Bay’s mixed grape harvest

By Roger Moroney | 

Rain is expected to mark a drop in overall volumes of grapes harvested this vintage.

The drought conditions of December through to mid-February had effectively “saved our bacon” in terms of how the grapes across Hawke’s Bay had weathered persistent and potentially damaging bouts of rain over the past six weeks.

However, there was likely to be a drop in overall volumes along with a drop in sugar levels and in individual cases a possible rise in the cost of harvesting, leading winemaker Rod McDonald said.

Bright, warm and dry days had seen the critical early development of grapes go extremely well, Mr McDonald said, adding that effectively created a good base for fruit protection when the rains did arrive.

“There was good early flavour development during the start of the season – they [grapes] may be down on sugars but the flavours are there.”

Location had been a factor in which vineyards saw reduced volumes, he said, although the overall drop was unlikely to be major.

Of the three vineyards which sourced Rod McDonald Wines one would be down on volumes as a result of the rain belts but the other two were actually slightly ahead of their initial estimates.

“It depends where you were to find the effects where rain hit.”

He said coastal areas like Te Awanga came through well.

“We’ve got some amazing chardonnay and perfect ripeness out of there.”

Rain often created extra costs due to stopping and starting of harvesting – “darting back and forth” – as well as the need for selected picking plans.

“But you’ve just got to suck it up.”

Mr McDonald said he was at a wine tasting in Auckland about a month ago and was asked what effect rain would have on the grape harvest and how damaging could it be.

He replied that despite Hawke’s Bay’s dry reputation everyone in the industry had a wet weather plan and were always prepared for such an eventuality.

“If you don’t then you’re dreaming.”

Part of his plan was to go with “discretion rather than valour” and carry out an earlier than usual harvest of some Syrah and Merlot so as not to put them through any more rain.

“You have to ask yourself ‘do I pull the pin now and bank it or push on through?”

But he still has some Syrah out, along with Cabernet “and they are in great shape”.

Having a damp end to the season was always a threat and simply “one of those things you have to deal with”.

Mission Estate winemaker Paul Mooney took the same stance.

“We have had a remarkable amount of rainfall over the past six or seven weeks and that is not ideal for grape growing but we have worked around it.”

Mr Mooney said there had been some grape loss.

“There have been one or two blocks we’ve had to leave.”

While volumes would be down it would not be major and he agreed with Mr MacDonald that the hot, dry start for the season had put things on the right path.

“It just hasn’t been ideal in the way it has finished,” he said.

He also agreed that while sugar levels were down flavours would still be very good.

Hawkes Bay Today

 

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Top 12 2014 vintage wines selected to represent Hawke’s Bay on the world stage

17 March 2017

 

On 13 March 2017, Bob Campbell MW spent the afternoon in Hawke’s Bay, blind tasting his way through a sea of 2014 vintage Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot Cabernet blends concealed in brown paper bags.  Mr Campbell then selected the top 12 2014 vintage wines to represent Hawke’s Bay, only finding out himself on Wednesday which wines he had selected.

Bob Campbell was the second New Zealander, and is one of just over 300 people in the world to hold the Master of Wine qualification. Mr Campbell is an internationally acclaimed wine judge and is widely regarded as the New Zealand’s foremost wine educator.

Melisa Beight, Executive Officer of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Inc. said that the boards and members were thrilled that Bob Campbell MW had agreed to judge the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection.  “This is the first year we have produced a Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection and it marks a real milestone for the region.  The Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection will be judged by Bob Campbell every year from now on, with the top 12 wines representing the best of Hawke’s Bay being sent out to global key opinion leaders, so that they can make their own assessment.”

“The overall standard was very high indeed” declared Bob Campbell MW.  “Clearly 2014 was a truly top vintage. A range of different Chardonnay styles added extra interest, and a degree of difficulty in choosing the ultimate winners. Syrah was stylistically more consistent as well as being the highest performer of the three classes. Blended reds were a pleasure to judge – all of the entries merited selection.”

The 2014 Hawke’s Bay Vintage Collection (in no particular order):

  • Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2014
  • Te Awa Single Estate Chardonnay 2014
  • Bilancia Chardonnay 2014
  • Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014
  • Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014
  • Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2014
  • Craggy Range Te Kahu, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay 2014
  • Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2014
  • Vidal Legacy Syrah 2014
  • Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah 2014
  • Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2014
  • Craggy Range Syrah, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay 2014

For further information, please contact Melisa Beight, Executive Officer on 06 876 3418 or email melisa@hawkesbaywine.co.nz

About Hawke’s Bay Wine:
Founded in 2006, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Inc. represents all wineries and growers in the region and its mission is to achieve international recognition as one of the great wine regions of the world.

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Squawking Magpie – Gavin Yortt – September 2016

squawking-magpieA really good turnout for this meeting. A major problem, which led to some disappointment, was that Gavin was quite softly spoken and he did not use the sound system available. The result was that many members had difficulty in hearing much of what was being said. We will need to be more insistent that the sound system is used.

Despite this, the wines presented were great and much enjoyed by those present. On the amusing side, we were getting a little worried about Gavin’s arrival as time moved on. A search of the Community Centre found him trying to get access to Peter Dunne’s electoral office where a local election meeting was being held. The arrival of a couple of cases of wine might well have held more joy than council election issues.

Wines tasted included: The Chatterer – Chardonnay 2015; The Chatterer – Syrah 2014, PINK – Rosé 2016; Counting Crows – Chardonnay 2015; The Gravels – Syrah 2014; The Nest – Merlot 2013; and the Stoned Crow – Syrah 2013.

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Air New Zealand’s reveals new wine list

air-new-zealands-reveals-new-wine-list579a9c159e2afWine experts have settled on a list of close to 50 wines, some costing more than $100 a bottle, for Air New Zealand to select from for its business class passengers.

Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have selected “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – to serve in planes from September.

A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.

One of the key criteria was consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an ”exceptional standard” for a minimum of five consecutive years.

Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton says the airline had been a longstanding supporter of New Zealand’s wine industry.

It spends about $6 million a year on wine for passengers throughout aircraft.

“We believe we can help further build awareness and appreciation of these world class wines with international travellers and propel leading New Zealand wineries to even greater commercial success,” Parton said.

The wines would be promoted through its inflight entertainment system, at offshore events and using contacts internationally to help open up key export markets for the wineries should they need this support.

The airline’s specialist inflight wine consultants, who are based in New Zealand, China and the United States, will select wines from the list for serving in business premier cabins. Not all on the list of 47 would make it on board as some do not react well to high altitudes or are available in sufficient quantities.

Parton said it was important that the wines were selected independently of its existing wine programme.

”We look forward to working closely with the wine masters in the coming years to compile this list annually.”

In 2014 Air New Zealand moved to a three-year deal with a single supplier, Villa Maria, in its economy section which upset some in the wine industry, but which the airline said had been part of simplifying the supply chain.

The Fine Wines of New Zealand for 2016:

Aromatics
Felton Road Dry Riesling 2014
Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2015
Framingham F series Riesling Kabinett 2015
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer 2014
Stonecroft Gewürztraminer 2015
Te Whare Ra Toru SV5182 2014
Millton Vineyards Clos de Ste Anne Chenin Blanc 2014
Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris 2014
Dry River Pinot Gris 2014

Pinot Noir
Felton Road Block 3 2013
Burn Cottage 2014
Valli Bannockburn 2014
Rippon Vineyards Tinkers Field 2012
Bell Hill 2012
Ata Rangi 2013
Dry River 2013
Craggy Range Aroha 2013
Kusuda 2013

Bordeaux style
Te Mata Coleraine 2014
Craggy Range Sophia 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
Esk Valley The Terraces 2013
Stonyridge Vineyard Larose 2014
Church Road Tom 2013

Sauvignon Blanc
Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011
Astrolabe Province 2015
Dog Point 2015
Greywacke 2015
Saint Clair Reserve Wairau 2015
Vavasour 2015

Chardonnay
Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard 2014
Neudorf Moutere 2011
Sacred Hill Riflemans 2014
Dog Point 2013
Felton Road Block 2 2010
Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard 2014

Sparkling
Nautilus NV
Akarua Vintage Brut 2010
Deutz Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2011
Quartz Reef Vintage 2010

Dessert wines
Forrest Wines Botrytised Riesling 2012
Framingham Wines Noble Riesling 2013
Framingham Wines ‘F’ Gewürztraminer 2014

Syrah
Craggy Range Le Sol 2013
Trinity Hill Homage 2013
Bilancia La Collina 2013
Te Mata Bullnose 2014

6:30 AM Friday Jul 29, 2016 | Read more by Grant BradleyNZ Herald

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Hermitage’ in New Zealand: the Origins and Development of the Te Kauwhata ‘Hermitage’ Syrah

Dr. Gerald Atkinson has written an interesting piece on the origins of Syrah in NZ and how it was first planted at Stonecroft.

Reproduced courtesy of Stonecroft Wines

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Catch up on Stonecroft News

stonecroft-logoA note from our friends at Stonecroft who last visited March 2012. Let us know if it’s about time you want them back.

Hi,

Welcome to our new form of newsletter. We understand that some of you have been missing out on our emails which is upsetting for us (but has probably gone unnoticed at your end). Hopefully this new system will work better for everyone…

In case you are one of those who has not been kept up-to-date (and otherwise apologies for duplicating), here are a few highlights from the last couple of months:

Family owned and operated boutique vineyard and winery business
  • We recently released our 2015 Old Vine Chardonnay, see here for details.
  • Our 2014 reds have been getting some excellent reviews, including 5 stars from Bob Campbell for our Ruhanui, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Syrah and The Original Syrah.
  • Supply of our Undressed Syrah and Chardonnay is now running low.
  • Dr. Gerald Atkinson has written an interesting piece on the origins of Syrah in NZ and how it was first planted at Stonecroft.
  • The cellar door will be open for Queen’s Birthday weekend and we will then be closed until spring, but please contact us if you would like to visit over the winter or you can purchase through our Online Shop.

If you do have any problems with this email format, please let us know.

Kind regards
Andria and Dermot

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Oldest wine opened in NZ still ‘amazing’ after 113 years in a Wairarapa cellar

Caleb Harris/Fairfax NZ | Last updated February 10, 2016.

After 113 years in a farmhouse cellar, a bottle of wine believed to be the oldest ever opened in New Zealand has astonished critics by still tasting great.

“It’s superb. Amazing, really … It’s still hanging on, shaking its fist at you out of the glass,” was how wine writer John Saker summed up the 1903 Landsdowne Claret opened in Wairarapa on Wednesday.

Early Wairarapa settler William Beetham made the wine on land the family owned in Masterton, after his homesick French wife Hermance planted vines.

The 1903 blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah is poured at Brancepeth Station in Wairarapa.

The vineyard stopped producing around 1908, but some bottles have been cellared ever since in the Edwardian homestead at Brancepeth Station, east of Masterton, which Beetham’s descendants still own.

On Wednesday, Saker convened a panel of 12 other local and international wine writers at Brancepeth to sample the valuable vintage, a bottle of which once sold for $14,000.

The 1903 blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah is poured at Brancepeth Station in Wairarapa.

Beetham’s Masterton vineyard was revived under new owner Derek Hagar in 2009 and won an international pinot noir award, so the tasters compared Beetham’s 1903 wine with a contemporary bottle produced by Hagar on the same land.

Brancepeth’s current custodian, Edward Beetham, said seeing his forebear’s pioneering role in Wairarapa winemaking acknowledged was “a great occasion”. “We’ve always sort of dreamt of doing this.”

Although called a claret, the wine is actually a blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah.

Breaths were bated as the crumbling cork was pulled, but once the venerable wine was swished, sniffed and sipped, the consensus was that age had not wearied it.

“This wine is like … a 100-year-old human which is still not ready to die,” German sommelier Markus Berlinghof said.

“There was this sort of dried citrus-peel acidity that just made it feel alive, still, and that completely shocked me,” American wine writer Sara Schneider said.

American wine writer Sara Schneider at the tasting.
American wine writer Sara Schneider at the tasting.

Saker found the wine not only surprisingly fault-free for its age, but also redolent of an “Edwardian summer” at the dawn of New Zealand’s wine industry. “That’s what makes it wonderful.”

BETTER WITH AGE?

1. John Saker, Wine editor Cuisine magazine

Tasting notes: “Slight faded rose, a hint of reduction … that lovely elegant passage across the palate, just a suggestion of sweetness. This is a Wairarapa pinot to be proud of.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I thought there was a family resemblance … both have a finer, lighter, red fruit notes and a steely acidity.”

Rating (1903): 5 out of 5

2. German sommelier Markus Berlinghof

German sommelier Markus Berlinghof and American wine writer Sara Schneider get to work on their tasting notes.

Tasting notes: “A lot of dried fruit character, dried orange zest. Elegant, a very feminine mouth feel. The colour is still in very good condition, a deep garnet, very fresh.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I wasn’t a friend of drinking the other wine afterward, I don’t want to compare them.”

Rating: Doesn’t believe in ratings, but in a word: “Superb”.

3. American wine writer Sara Schneider

Tasting notes: “That first red fruit is really gone by now, but has sort of turned into a dried fig character, kind of an earthy tang, with the tannin texture … dried rose petals … a terrific wine.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “There’s a wet loam, forest floor, mushroomy, savoury character in both wines.”

Rating: High 19 out of 20 (1903); low 19 out of 20 (2009).

 – Stuff

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Hawke’s Bay Syrah takes top spot at 2015 Air NZ wine awards

A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the top prize at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, presented last night at Nelson’s Saxton Stadium.

The Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 won the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, as well as the Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 was one of the fuller-bodied Syrahs in this year’s competition.

“It’s a wine with lovely ripe black fruit and floral Syrah characters, and very well-handled subtle oak influence,” said Mr Brajkovich. “The palate is full-bodied, with rich berry fruit and firm tannins to fill out the finish and ensure a long maturation potential.

“Syrah provided a quality class of wine, displaying a diversity of styles from fresh, vibrant peppery and herbal, to full-bodied rich and ripe black-fruit styles, with significant oak impact and earthy tannins.”

There were strong trophy contenders across the 16 classes, but the winners prevailed by having that “extra something special”, Mr Brajkovich said.

The second highest accolade of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, went to the Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. This exceptional Chardonnay also won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Bruce Parton said the airline was a longstanding partner of the New Zealand wine industry, which continued to produce some of the world’s best wines.

“We’ve been a proud sponsor of the awards for 29 years, and are passionate about promoting home-grown wines and showcasing New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism.”

“It’s been fantastic to see such a large number of entries in this year’s competition from wineries across the country. We wish to congratulate all medal and trophy winners.”

As well as the 18 trophies awarded, 36 Pure Elite Gold Medals and one Elite Gold Medal were announced at the dinner, which was emceed by TV3’s Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. This year’s competition saw 1,407 wines entered, 99 percent of which were accredited as being sustainably produced.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for 40 years.

Air NZ wine awards 2015 – Trophy winners

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014

Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014

Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Bite Magazine Champion Sweet Wine
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

Guala Closures New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Gris
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

New World Champion Open White Wine
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015

Port Nelson Limited Champion Other White Styles
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Toast by Liquorland Champion Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

WineWorks Limited Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Rangitikei Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014

Nelson Airport Limited & Nelson Tasman Tourism Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Beach House Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Number of trophies by region:

Marlborough: 9
Hawke’s Bay: 5
Nelson: 3
Otago: 1

Pure Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014
Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Pinot Gris
Greystone Pinot Gris Waipara Valley 2015
Isabel Pinot Gris Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Riesling
Ceres Black Rabbit Vineyard Riesling Central Otago 2015
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015
Spy Valley Envoy Riesling Marlborough 2010

Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Vidal Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

Chardonnay
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2013
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Nautilus Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Villa Maria Library Release Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Sweet Wine
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

Pinot Noir
Akitu A2 Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014
Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Ridge Block Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013
Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014
Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Other Varieties – Single
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Daniel Le Brun Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc De Blancs Marlborough 2009

Number of pure elite gold medals by region

Marlborough: 19
Hawke’s Bay: 8
Central Otago: 5
Nelson: 3
Waipara Valley: 1

Elite gold medal by region

Marlborough: 1

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Man O’ War – Oct 2015 – Looking back

2015-10-17-5621b9075e214A very enjoyable tasting We had a great evening and Ben Coles was a relaxed and entertaining presenter. The wines were more than pleasant and members were keen to make orders. Yet another top tasting, to repeat the wines offered;

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend

Check out the tasting review.

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Tasting review – Man-O-War, Waiheke

There are not many times when tasting wines you come across a range that fulfils everything it promises. Duncan, the team at Man O’ War, and our presenter Ben have produced a range the would not let anyone down. Everyone had their favourite on the night right across the lineup.

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend
20151014_203636
Click image for more in the gallery

Ben, the GSM at Man o’ War is an ingenious speaker; knowledgeable, funny, with a great personality; a great representative for Man O’ War. I noted a few of Ben’s one-liners:

  • Berocca pee (in reference to Marlborough Sauv’s)
  • Better red than dead
  • Gotta go big or go home
  • Drink some tea (in reference to waiting for wine to ferment)
  • Global warming is John Key,s fault (needing to pick 2012 crop later than usual due to wet weather)
  • Waiheke is a piece of dirt in a big blue thing (in reference to an ideal location)

Man O’ War is 150 acres made up of 76 individual parcels of land providing great diversity in soil type, prevailing winds and temperature, allowing the winemaker to source the best of what’s on offer to make incredibly decadent wines.

The Gravestone as you’d expect was far your typical sauv. Silky with a touch of sweetness with a slight minerality finish – pleasant. 15/20

I have been drinking the ’09 and ’10 Valhalla – exceptional wines. The 2014 rendition was smokey, no malo ferment due to basalt soils, and a beautifully balanced wine. Yes needs five years but worth the wait. 19/20

The Pinot Gris bottled at 4° gave a slight tingle on the tongue. Ben mentioned this raises the CO2 levels so there’s more in the bottle – about 4 ml. 17/20

The inaugural release of Pinque, named after a  flat-bottomed ship, was gently pressed wine in the champagne style over 6 hours. A pale pink hue gives way to a savoury cranberry nose and clean dry finish. 15/20

20151014_213559
Click image for more in the gallery

The white label Merlot dominant (45%) Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite wines anytime. I can recommend the ’06 and ’07 as it has aged wonderfully well so 2012 won’t let you down. Fruity, light tannin feel on the teeth, not the mouth, and a smooth rich finish. 17/20. Now for the biggies.

The Ironclad, silky elegance. Savoury mince nose, rich lingering finish. An exciting wine that I’ve laid down for at least ten years. 19/20. The Dreadnought gave a hint of bayleaf, bacon and blueberries, finished off with savoury and minerality overtones. Ben said Pinot Noir on steroids and that’s the beauty of this wine. Another for ageing. 18/20.

Tasting details

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Ben Coles, Global Sales Manager

About Man O’ War

The Winemaker at Man O’ War is Duncan McTavish. His heart and soul and enormous talent are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. Of singular personality, they are indeed the “definitive translation of our land.”

The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology degree at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy,
Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand. This apprenticeship culminated in 2001 when he landed a job with one of New Zealand’s best wine producers, the Waipara Valley’s inimitable
Pegasus Bay. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his winemaking ideas at Waipara Springs. In 2008, Man O’ War were fortunate enough to entice
Duncan to go north to Man O’ War. He now makes his home on Waiheke living above Onetangi Beach with his partner Vanessa, son Tommy and a baby daughter.

We look forward to sharing the Man O’ War philosophy and wines with Ben, who is the Global Sales Manager for the winery.

Man O’ War Legacy – ‘Discovered’ in 1769

The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land which has a rich history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline.  Continue reading →

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Craggy Range – Sept 2015 – Looking Back

craggyrangeA great evening with a good range of wines which was evidenced by a very good level of orders from the winery. Some of the wines were very expensive, I am sure members are keeping them for a special occasion.

Just to recap, the selection included the Gimblett Gravels Rose 2015, followed by the Te Muna Riesling 2014, the Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc 2014, and the Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2013. The reds included the high range Aroha (Pinot Noir) 2013, the Le Sol (Syrah) 2013 and the Sophia (Merlot) 2013.

Altogether an excellent tasting, thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.

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