Featured Reviews

Pa Road 2018 Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

08 November,2018

In an industry where attrition and dwindling market share are more common than it should be, it is very pleasing to see the continued growth and success of the MacDonald’s te Pa Family Vineyards business based on the Wairau Bar of Marlborough. New vineyard blocks in the Lower Wairau are coming on stream to meet demand, and domestic sales have grown, with the ‘Pa Road’ brand being particularly successful. Sam Bennett is now the chief winemaker now that Liam McElhinney has finished his consultancy. 

The Pa Road wines are siblings to the main te Pa label. It has more of a grocery focus whereas the te Pa wines target on-premise and fine wine retailers. Sam Bennett says the Pa Road wines are made to be more accessible, fruit forward and easy-drinking, and they tend to be regional blends rather than sub-region or single vineyard expressions. Here, I review a selection of 2018 and 2017 Pa Road wines, the 2018s also a challenging vintage following the cold and wet 2017 season. Sam reports that warm summer weather enabled early picking in the Lower Wairau before the cyclonic events, but the Awatere fruit was "stunning”, hence the increased Awatere component in some of the 2018 wines. www.tepawines.com


Pa Road Marlborough Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light salmon-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is softly fresh with fragrant aromas of strawberries and watermelon with quince notes, and a subtle amalgam of red florals, fresh herbs and nuances of lifted confectionary. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has juicy and sweet flavours of strawberries, watermelon, quince and red floral elements and lifted confectionary. The palate has richness and succulence, and the fruit is enlivened by softly fresh, mouthwatering acidity. The wine flows easily along a light-textured line, leading to a moderately long finish. Serve as an aperitif and with Asian fare over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir, 45% from ‘Kelly’s Creek’, 35% Omaka North and 20% ‘Malthouse’, in the Central and Southern Wairau, given 2 hours soak and cool-fermented in stainless-steel with a small portion in barrel to 13.0% alc. and 5.5 g/L RS. 17.0+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $17.99

Pa Road Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, very pale straw colour, near colourless on the rim. The nose is softly full with moderately deep, but well-packed and rounded aromas of passionfruit harmoniously melded tropical fruit notes, unfolding some fresh herb, nettle and cut-grass elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a firm and well-concentrated heart of ripe passionfruit and tropical fruits, along with a subtle layering of herbs, nettles, capsicums and cut-grass. The mouthfeel has some phenolic textures providing a slightly grippy line, with fresh acidity providing energy as the wine carries to a moderately long finish. This is a well-concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with some phenolic textures and linearity, with fresh acidity. Serve with salads and vegetables, and herb-marinated seafood and poultry dishes over the next 2 years. Fruit from 65% ‘MacDonald Home’ vineyard, Wairau Bar and 35% ‘Redwood Hills’ vineyard, Awatere, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 4 g/L RS. 16.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $17.99

Pa Road Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, paler on the edge. The nose is elegantly presented with good depth and concentration of white and yellow stonefruit aromas, along with hits of pears, exotic florals and a suggestion of honey. This exudes a gentle aromatic richness. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth of aromatic white and yellow stonefruits along with notes of pears, florals and some honeysuckle, forming an elegantly concentrated core. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with bright acidity, and the fruit is underlined by some alcoholic power. The wine carries along a fine-textured line with good energy, leading to a sustained, nuanced finish. This is a well-concentrated dryish Pinot Gris with good depth of aromatic fruit with a fresh and bright palate. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. A blend of 95% Pinot Gris and 5% Gewurztraminer, field-blended, 50% from the ‘Riverside’ Block of the ‘MacDonald Home’ vineyard, and 50% from ‘Redwood Hills’ vineyard, Awatere, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $17.99

Pa Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Even, lemon-green hued straw-yellow colour, lighter on the edge. This has a tightly bound and firm nose with aromas of white stonefruits, white peaches and nutty oak notes, and subtle flinty complexities. This is fresh and bright, and possesses a steely youthfulness. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a solidly packed heart with rounded but concentrated flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, peaches and nuts along with light flinty interest. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with crisp acidity, and the wine flows with some drive and power along a light-textured line, leading to a ling, lingering finish. This is a well-concentrated Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty and flinty flavours, some alcohol power and a fresh mouthfeel. Serve with grilled and roasted seafood and poultry dishes over the next 3+ years. A blend of 75% Mendoza clone fruit from the ‘Middle Renwick Road’ vineyard, and 25% clone 15 from the ‘Rapaura Road’ vineyard, fermented 85% stainless-steel tanks and 15% in barrel, partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees in barrel and tank, 50% undergoing MLF. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $17.99

Pa Road Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Light ruby-red colour with a little depth, paler edged. The nose is elegantly presented with aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with red florals intermingling with fresh herbs and a little minerally reduction. The aromatics form a softly packed core. Medium-full bodied, the flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit are light in expression, and entwined with notes of fresh herbs, the reduction showing very subtly. The fruit is sweet and forms a gentle core with light, suppletannins in support. The mouthfeel issoft and the acidity integrated, and the wine carries to a light finish. This is a light-fruited Pinot Noir with cherry, berry and herb flavours on a palate with supple and soft mouthfeel. Serve with antipasto, pizza and pasta over the next 2-3 years. 100% Pinot Noir from 5 sites, clones 777, 667, Abel, 10/5 and 115, 65% from the Central Wairau Valley, 30% Omaka North and 5% Waihopai Valley, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months, 55% in seasoned barrel and the remainder in tank. 16.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $17.99

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