|Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, Man O’ War boasts a pristine and beautiful array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and stunning beaches. This rugged and beautiful coastline was “Discovered” in 1769 by Captain James Cook. Today, 10.000 people live on Waihiki Island and 27 wineries are installed there. The land has been under the Spencer family’s stewardship for almost 30 years. They first introduced grapes to Man O’ War in 1993, with the firm belief that world class wines could be produced there.|
Man O’ War Vineyards is 100% Estate Grown, encompassing 4,500 acres with 150 acres of vines enhancing its intrinsic beauty. Seventy-six individual hillside blocks are strategically placed with soil types varying from volcanic loam to friable iron rich clay.
Due to the slope and aspect of their coastal land, the Spencer family believed that the steep hillsides of Man O’ War could provide optimal exposure and great drainage to produce exceptional wine of power and elegance. In order to identify these sites, they embarked on over a decade of research to assess potential viticultural quality and varietal suitability of various areas using techniques such as soil mapping, weather data collection and plantings of small experimental sites.
As New Zealand’s viticulture is predominantly flat, specialist hillside machinery was not readily available so they travelled to Europe to research planting and operating steep hillside vineyards. From these studies, they identified that thesteep, low lying, north facing clay hillsides are ideal for bordeaux and syrah production and they subsequently planted red varietals down these steep, sheltered clay hillsides. Higher altitude and free draining volcanic soils are best suited for aromatic whites and chardonnay so they planted the white varietals on exposed volcanic hill tops, benefiting from cool sea breezes. Additionally, different sites give different characteristics within the same variety. For example, Dreadnought Syra: the eastern vineyards give an abundance of fruit flavour and powerful tannins which is balanced out by the western vineyards’ delicate spice and aroma.
The planting program was completed in 2004, each block with its own distinct soil type and microclimate. To ensure the purity of the wine, the vineyards rely on nature’s water supply, they are not irrigated, are hand harvest and farmed 100% sustainably. The wines are not fined (except the whites, with bentonite) and vegan friendly. The first commercial vintage under the Man O’ War brand was in 2006.
Man O’ War wines are presented in two collections.
The “Flagship Range”of Ironclad Bordeaux Blend, Dreadnought Syrah, Valhalla Chardonnay and Gravestone Sauvignon Sémillon convey layers of complexity, structure and ageing potential. Exiled Pinot Gris and Valkyrie Viognier are available for select vintages. The name of each wine reflects its own unique and inherent nature and its foundation.
The “Man O’ War Range” expresses varietal character and fruit vibrancy in a classical style.
|Man O' War Website|
|2014 was an excellent vintage with the Sauvignon blanc and Semillon (4% of the blend) all coming in relatively early but ripe and in impeccable condition. All the grapes were whole bunch pressed however each of the Sauvignon blanc vineyards harvest were split into two batches, one for traditional stainless steel fermentation and the other for cloudy juice ferments in barrel with wild yeasts. The Semillon was racked clean into old barrels for fermentation. After fermentation the barrels (50% Seasoned French Oak, 5% Acacia) were kept on their lees for six months prior to blending and bottling.|
The 2014 Sauvignon blanc shows fresh herbs, jalapeño, gooseberry, and nettle on the nose with jack fruit and bell pepper on the palate. The wine is conveying the volcanic influence in the soil through its minerality and elevated acidity which is well balanced with texture from the barrel influence and ripe fruit tannins extracted from the skins in the cloudy ferments. 14.5% alcohol.
|69% Merlot, 21% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.|
2010 is arguably the greatest vintage Waiheke has seen for Bordeaux style red wines. The fruit for this wine was all estate grown, hand harvested and delivered to the winery in impeccable condition. In was then subjected to rigorous sorting, before and after destemming. Depending on the vineyard or variety the berries were then either crushed and/or must pumped to the vat where they underwent a pre ferment soak for 4 days. Each variety, vineyard and block, approximately 25 for this wine, were fermented as separate batches, many undergoing a wild fermentation while some were inoculated with selected yeast strains. Each batch was plunged by hand twice daily during fermentation with gentle pump over’s during the cold soak and also for the extended time on skins (total cuvaison of 28 days is typical), prior to pressing and going to barrel (old French oak). Uninoculated malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel before blending in the winter post harvest. The wine was held in tank for a further 5 months for bottling early 2011.
The wine is deep garnet-purple in color. It has lifted aromas of crushed red berries and darker cassis with hints of floral perfume, clove, Mediterranean herbs and cedar. The palate is vibrant with good concentration and supple tannins. The 2010 Man O’ War Merlot Malbec exudes ripe red berry fruits, a hint of spice and a long persistent finish that is engaging in its youth but will reward careful cellaring for 3-5 years. 14.5% alcohol.
|70% Sauvignon Blanc 30% Sémillon.|
Taking it’s name from the fluted basalt boulders that solemnly surround the volcanic hilltop vineyards, Gravestone is bequeathed upon the finest blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon of each vintage. It is only produced in the best vintages.
2012 was a cool but excellent vintage resulting in wines of purity and intensity. Sauvignon blanc was hand harvested and given extended skin contact before gentle pressing and fermentation on light juice lees. Semillon was gently pressed and clarified before fermentation in old seasoned barrels. Following fermentation the wines stayed on lees for 3 months in tank and barrel before blending.
Intense aromatics of guava, gooseberry, nettles and black currants dominate with undertones of lychee and chalk dust. The palate is fresh and vibrant with high natural acidity balanced by weight, texture and a long persistent finish. 13% alcohol.
|Exiled Pinot Gris|
|Named in tribute to Napoleon’s final place of exile where he was banished after his defeat at Waterloo. Exiled is the estate’s most prized Pinot Gris, made exclusively from the St Helena clone grown on the Ponui Island vineyards.|
2012 was a cool but excellent vintage resulting in wines of purity and intensity. The Ponui Pinot Gris was hung on the vine for a very long time and ripened incredibly well with also a small amount of Noble Pinot Gris selected. The fruit was given extended skin contacted and was macerated going into the press to further increase the flavour intensity and tannin extraction. After gentle pressing the juice was settled clear and racked off to tank for a long slow fermentation a with carefully selected yeast strain. Each parcel was chilled to below zero degrees to stop the fermentation as the desired balance of sugar, acid and natural fruit tannin was achieved. The wines stayed chilled right up to bottling to retain as much carbon dioxide from the fermentation as possible resulting in a natural spritz in the wine.
Exiled Pinot Gris is a wine of purity, with aromas of pear, mandarin, cinnamon and ginger in an off dry style. The wine's natural sugar is balanced by fruit tannin, a spritz of carbon dioxide and vibrant acidity. It is pure, concentrated and delicious.13.5% alcohol, 30 gr RS.
|“Valhalla” is named after the shining and golden hall in Norse mythology where the souls of fallen Viking warriors chosen by Odin feasted with the gods. It is made of the finest barrels of chardonnay selected each year.|
Rated as Waiheke’s finest vintage to date, the 2013 vintage delivered fruit of exceptional quality and the fruit for the Valhalla Chardonnay was no exception. It is sourced from two distinctly different terroirs; vineyards located on the mid slope of the steep hillsides which are predominantly rich clay based soils and vineyards from the cooler elevated sites with light volcanic deposits in the soil.
The Chardonnay is hand harvested and either gently foot stomped before pressing or whole bunch pressed directly to barrel for an un- inoculated ‘wild’ fermentation in 500 litre acacia or oak puncheons (20% new French Oak, 80% older). The wines are then left to evolve over the winter without disturbance of the lees before blending in the new year into tank with fine lees and held for a further 6 months before bottling.
The 2013 Valhalla Chardonnay is typical of Man O'War style; bold flavours and aromas with complex savoury notes introducing tropical fruits, stone fruit, and hazelnut with toasty/smokey barrel characters. The palate is all about elegance and discreet power with a rich texture framed by vibrant acidity, oak and bold fruit. 14.9% alcohol.
|The first in a line of early 20th century battleships bestowed with the motto “fear god and dreadnought” and embodying a supreme combination of speed and power, Dreadnought denotes MOW’s steepest and most breathtaking hillside Syrah vineyards (Madmans, Asylum, Lunatics, Garden Cove, Cactus Bay, North 3 and Thumb).|
Dreadnought Syrah comes from steep hillside vineyards and is carefully hand harvested before delivery to the winery. The fruit is put across a sorting table before being de stemmed and put in open vats for fermentation. Following a 4 day soak, the Syrah is allowed to ferment with wild yeasts with plunging carried out twice daily. After an extended time on the skins (average 28 days in vat), the wines are gently pressed and taken straight to barrel for natural malolactic fermentation in the spring. Aged for 18 months in 30% new French, 70% old French. The wines are racked once to a blend the following year before further maturing in tank for 3 months prior to bottling with a coarse filtration.
Typical aromas for Dreadnought Syrah include a smokey peat character that provides a savory edge to the overt blueberry and pepper aromas, that mix of savory and sweet that is classic Northern Rhone in style. The palate is concentrated and rich but well balanced with vibrant acidity and a streak of minerality – almost a salty character with the wine finishing with a large volume of fine grain tannins.
|35% Cabernet Franc, 31% Merlot, 22% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.|
Ironclad is named in honour of the 19th Century warships characterised by the iron armour bolted onto their wooden hulls, much as iron courses through the veins of the warm clay hillside vineyards.
Vineyards: Cabernet Franc: 20 tonner, Niko Face, Ponui, Benches - Merlot: Anita Bay, Cliffs, 20 Tonner, Sharpies, Death Valley - Malbec: Owhiti, Top Swamp, Back Swamp - Petit Verdot: Machells, Big North - Cabernet Sauvignon: Big North, Reubans.
All estate fruit is hand harvested and delivered to the winery in impeccable condition. However rigorous sorting also takes place with the fruit sorted twice, before and after destemming. Depending on the vineyard or variety the berries were then either crushed and /or must pumped to the vat where they underwent a pre ferment soak for 4 days. The traditional 5 varieties of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon made up fifty different batches for the Ironclad selection with many undergoing a wild fermentation while some were inoculated with selected yeast strains. Each batch was plunged by hand twice daily during fermentation with gentle pump over’s during the cold soak and also for the extended time on skins (total cuvasion of 28 days is typical), prior to pressing and going to barrel (25% new French, 75% old French). Uninnoculated malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel before blending in the winter post harvest. The wine was held in tank for a further 5 months for bottling early 2011.
Full of sweet ripe fruit with lifted aromas of crushed red berries and darker cassis, hints of floral perfume with tobacco and cedar. The palate is vibrant, exuding ripe fruit and a rich texture finishing with supple fine grained tannins. The 2009 Ironclad shows great fruit accessibility with a powerful structure coated in luxuriant fruit, supple yet powerful it is an engaging wine in its youth that will reward patient cellaring revealing a refined structure and greater complexity with age. 14.5% alcohol
|96% Syrah and 4% Viognier.|
Christened in honor of the heroic Greek demi-god, Bellerophon is the first blend of Syrah and Viognier from Man O'War's volcanic hillside vineyards.
2012 was a cool but excellent vintage resulting in wines of purity and intensity. In response to the vintage conditions Bellerophon was conceptualized. Bellerophon is Man O'WAr first co-ferment offering in the classic mould of Côte-Rôtie containing the Viognier grape. To further develop the style, a number of ferments had the inclusion of stems as whole bunch clusters in the fermentation, this was either as 10% additions of the Viognier or anywhere between 10 to 100% whole cluster Syrah. Fermented with ‘wild’ yeasts and left in vats for an extended period prior to pressing. The various components were aged in barrels (20% New French Oak, 80% Older) and underwent a natural malolactic in the Spring before blending and bottling just prior to the vintage of 2013.
Aromas of violets, raspberries and white pepper frame a wine that is incredibly approachable in its youth. Smoked meat and liquorice aromas will develop with time in the cellar.
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