I was eagerly anticipating trying some New Zealand wines with & from Man O’ War winemaker Mr. Duncan McTavish. Duncan is a passionate New Zealand winemaker. He was trained in New Zealand and has spent time working harvests in Europe in Burgundy, the Rheingau and the Mosel and throughout the New World regions of California, Australia and finally back to settle in New Zealand. The Man O’ War winery is located on a smaller island called Waiheke Island, just off of Auckland. (Here is a Google Map of the Man O’ War winery). Duncan mentioned that this is the most northern winery in New Zealand. Being on this small island, the grapes are influenced by the maritime climate keeping the vines cool and adding vibrancy to the grapes.
All their grapes are 100% estate grown and hand harvested. The estate is also family owned.
I was privileged to try two wines from Man O’ War with Duncan McTavish. The first is the Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 ($23.99). This wine is medium lemon in colour. Lots of lime and tropical fruit on the nose. Bracing acidity with lemon and tropical flavours, with a hint of herbal character. Long finish. A nice example of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
The second wine was the Man O’ War Merlot / Cabernet / Franc / Malbec 2008 ($28.99). The blend for this wine is 42% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 19% Malbec, and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium purple/garnet in colour. Smoky with black cherry and tar aromas. Black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavours. It was medium plus in body with medium silky tannins and good acidity to balance the fruit. Very nicely done. It had a long length with a dry cherry finish. A quality wine that coated the glass.
The winery also has a premium level of wines called their Black label wines. They are named after great battleships or classes of battleships. Hopefully we will someday get to try their Valhalla Chardonnay, Dreadnought Syrah, and Ironclad Bordeaux blend.
I tried Man O’ War’s wines at Everything Wine in North Vancouver. You probably can find their wines also in other specialty wine shops. Cheers!