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Featured Reviews

Big Bunch Hawke’s Bay 2018 Pinot Gris and 2014 Merlot

05 December,2018

The Big Bunch wines are made by Rod McDonald and his Te Awanga Estate team, but the brand is a distinctly separate entity in the marketplace. Rod McDonald describes the brand as a "generous representation of Hawke’s Bay varietal wines” with a "big bunch of aromatics and flavours”. The Big Bunch wines were initially styled by John Kemble, who established Kemblefield in 1993, and after a hiatus, joined up with Rod McDonald to re-establish his wine involvement. John is somewhat larger than life and lots of fun, and the wines are representative of his personality. Though John is now in the food industry, the Big Bunch wine style is continued by Rod.


Big Bunch Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with a suggestion of a golden blush at the heart, lighter edged. The nose is firmly bound and tight, somewhat slender in proportion, but showing good depth and intensity of white and yellow stonefruits along with subtle notes of stonefruit kernels, revealing light florals and hints of minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has restrained flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, along with subtle notes of florals. The mouthfeel has vinous presence and the wine flows along a slippery line with integrated acidity, the palate unfolding a suggestion of unctuousness. A little phenolic texture emerges, and guides the wine to a light, clean, dry finish. This dry Pinot Gris has restrained aromas and flavours that reveals some richness and unctuous textures and a slippery line with some phenolic grip. Match with most white meat dishes over the next 2 years. Fruit from Maraekakaho, fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc. and 3.1 g/L RS, the wine given some lees contact. 16.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $21.99

Big Bunch Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2014

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Moderately deep ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues on the edge. The bouquet is soft and full with solidly packed aromas of dark-red berry fruit with earthy plums, and subtle dark herb notes and a suggestion of leaf. A little rustic complexity from secondary development is emerging, adding interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has up-front and juicy flavours of savoury dark-red and black berried fruits interwoven with earthy plum elements, and subtle dark and dried herbs. The fruit is robust and has a degree of rusticity, with grainy tannin extraction and moderate, balanced acidity. The wine carries to a dry, textured, earthy finish. This is a sweet-fruited, up-front, robust and slightly rustic Merlot with dark-red berry and plum fruit and secondary earthy development on a grainy-textured palate. Serve with barbecued red meats and Mediterranean fare over the next 3+ years. 100% Merlot from Te Awanga, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged up to 18 months in tank and seasoned oak. 16.5/20 Dec 2018 RRP $24.99

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