Merlot-Malbec – Bordeaux Blend
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.
Deep garnet-purple color. 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.
About the Producer
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 Syrah: the eastern vineyards give an abundance of fruit flavor 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 “Flagship Range” - Ironclad Bordeaux Blend, Dreadnought Syrah, Valhalla Chardonnay and Gravestone Sauvignon Sémillon - conveys layers of complexity, structure and aging 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.