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Featured Reviews




One Off 2018 ‘Cherry Bomb’, ‘Double Happy’ and 2016 ‘Red Planet’, and Te Awanga Estate Merlot Franc 2015

29 November,2018

The overarching ‘Te Awanga Estate’ brand is Rod McDonald’s vehicle for his Hawke’s Bay-based wine operation, which recognises place, instead of the former ‘Rod McDonald Wines’ which is about a person. Rod’s dream has been to make top class Hawke’s Bay wines, so the new nomenclature is a step to showing and reaching that aim. Under ‘Te Awanga Estate’ Rod has his icon ‘Trademark’ wines (click here to see my recent review of the 2015 Trademark Syrah’), the premium ‘Quarter Acre’ bottlings, the ‘Te Awanga Estate’ wines which reflect the coastal home vineyard, cellar door and administration headquarters, the individual ‘One Off’ wines, and the fruit-focussed ‘Mister’ wines’. It’s a broad portfolio, and one that covers most of the Hawke’s Bay wine styles (and more) that Rod wishes to pursue. Here, I review three new ‘One Off’ wines, and a more conventional Te Awanga Estate red blend. www.teawangaestate.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



One Off ‘Cherry Bomb’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18/20

Bright, pale cerise-pink colour with some depth and slight purple hues on the rim. The nose has fresh and firmly concentrated, tightly bound aromas of bright red cherry fruit along with herb and redcurrant notes, unfolding red florals and some thirst-quenching minerals. This is youthfully refreshing. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is refreshingly crisp with bright and tightly bound, penetrating flavours of red cherry fruit, herbs and redcurrants, along with red florals, a hint of confectionary and subtle mineral notes. The flavours are finely concentrated and flow along a fine-textured line with fresh acidity enlivening the mouthfeel, and providing energy to the fruit. The flavours carry to a long finish. This is a bright, refreshing and mouthwatering dry rosé with cherry fruit flavours with subtle notes of herbs, redcurrants and confectionary, with lifted red florals. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and tapas over the next 2 years. 100% Syrah from the company’s Bridge Pa vineyard, the fruit picked early and pressed to tank for fermentation to 12.5% alc. and 0.4 g/L RS. 18.0/20 Nov 2018 RRP $24.99

One Off ‘Double Happy’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay/Viognier 2018

Blended White from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18+/20

Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hints, pale on the rim. The nose is softly full with harmoniously entwined aromas of tropical fruit along with citrus fruit and stonefruits, and a layering of savoury apricots and delicate nuances of nutty oak, unfolding creamy barrel-ferment and MLF elements. The aromatics blossom in the glass. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a soft and rounded heart with gently packed flavours of ripe citrus fruit and tropical fruit, melded with savoury apricots. The mouthfeel features soft textures and the palate builds in weight and presence. The acidity is soft and adds to the richness of the wine, and the flavours vary to a soft, sustained finish. This is a softly rich and rounded Chardonnay/Viognier blend with citrus, stonefruit and apricot flavours on a creamy-textured palate with good weight. Match with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 year. A blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Viognier, the fruit from Maraekakaho, Havelock North and Bridge Pa, fully barrel fermented, with 10% in tank, this being Viognier, to 13.0% alc., and 1.2 g/L RS, the wine aged 5 months in seasoned oak on lees with batonnage, undergoing MLF. 18.0+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $27.99

One Off ‘Red Planet’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

17.5/20

Light ruby-red colour with some depth and slight garnet hues on the rim. This has a firm nose with elegantly concentrated aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with subtle notes of savoury dark herbs unfolding some nutty and slightly resinous oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is finely proportioned with moderately taut and concentrated flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, along with herbs, nutty oak and some resinous nuances. The fruit is underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction lending structure and linearity, and the acidity is subtly poised, providing energy. The wine flows to a soft cherry and herb flavoured finish. This is an elegantly proportioned Pinot Noir with taut flavours of cherry and berry fruit with nutty and resinous oak elements on a fine-textured palate. Match with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. Martinborough fruit, hand-picked and 90% destemmed, leaving whole berries, fermented partially with indigenous yeasts and 10% whole bunches to 13.5%, the wine aged 18 months in approx. 20% new French oak. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $34.99

Te Awanga Estate Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20

Full, even, dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a firmly packed nose with intense and penetrating aromas of ripe black plum fruit along with black and redcurrant notes, unfolding nutty and earthy notes with suggestions of game entwined with nutty oak. The aromatics build to form a solid and rounded core. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a fulsome and deeply concentrated, but rounded heart of ripe plum and savoury blackcurrant and redcurrant fruit, along with nutty and earthy elements. The flavours are complexed by a little funky gaminess which adds to the fruit interest. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin structure and grip, and the wine has good texture and mouthfeel with integrated acidity, carrying to a softly full, lingering finish. This is a fulsome and rounded Merlot/Franc blend with plum and currant flavours along with earthy, nutty and game notes on a palate with good structure and mouthfeel. Match with roasted game meats and casseroles over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc from the Te Awanga Estate, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 15% new oak. 17.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $27.99

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