Featured Reviews

Rod McDonald 2017 ‘Mister’ Rosé, ‘One Off’ Albarino, and 2016 Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay

23 January,2018

Rod McDonald has remarkably grown his own wine venture to having many different brands that provide him and his clients alternative approaches and styles to making and enjoying wines respectively. In some ways, there’s something for everyone, and this is no doubt one of the reasons for the success of Rod’s business. Here, I review three wines under the ‘Rod McDonald’ umbrella, but with different branding. The 2017 ‘Mister’ Rosé is based on the unique figurine on the label, which has caught many people’s eye, and thus created a following. These wines are accessible in style and value. The 2017 ‘On Off’ Albarino is from the ‘One Off’ individual bottling range that is offered once and non-repeated. They can be experimental wines, and thus very exciting and possibly ground-breaking. The 2016 Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay is from the Rod’s stylistically elegant, aromatic and cool-spectrum focussed brand, which reflects the coastal style of the wines that come from this home vineyard by the ocean. The style is all-important, and the fruit can come from sites away from Te Awanga, but invariably they are ‘cooler’ in nature. www.rmwine.co.nz  www.teawangaestate.co.nz


Rod McDonald ‘Mister’ Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright salmon-pink colour with a little depth, lighter on the rim with purple tints. The nose is fresh with aromas of strawberries and cream entwined with watermelon, lifted red florals and mouthwatering confectionary elements. The aromatics show good presence and depth. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has vibrant and lively flavours of strawberries and cream, red cherries and florals with confectionary flavours. The fruit forms a fine-textured, firm core with subtle phenolic textures, underlined by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine is thirst-quenching, and the flavours carry to a lingering, crisp finish. This is a fine-textured dry rosé with a firm core of strawberries and cream, florals and confectionary on a mouthwatering palate. Serve with canapés and Asian cuisine over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit, given 2 hours skin contact and cool-fermented in tank to 13.0% alc. and 0.81 g/L RS, the wine aged several months on lees. 18.0-/20 Jan 2018 RRP $24.99

One Off Hawke’s Bay Albarino 2017

Other White from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and elegant with bright and fragrant aromas of white stonefruits, limes, white florals and subtle notes of apples and herbs. This is refined and delicate with purity and fine concentration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with deep and intense flavours of limes, citrus fruits and exotic white florals, expressed with clarity and purity. The wine flows along a brisk palate with racy, crisp acidity, carrying to an elegant, lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, pure Albarino with finesse and clarity on a racy palate. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese fare over the next 3 years. Fruit from new plantings at ‘Prospect Vineyard’, Bridge Pa, hand-picked, WBP and cool-fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and 0.42 g/L RS, the wine aged several months on lees. 18.0+/20 Jan 2018 RRP $27.99

Te Awanga Estate Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour with some depth and pale golden hues, lighter edged. The nose is elegant in expression with gently deep and well-packed aromas of white and yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with some creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes. The aromatics are fresh and lively with a steely edge. Medium-bodied, the palate has a fine heart of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with soft, creamy barrel-ferment and nutty, toasty oak, and a hint of flint. The fruit and mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh acidity lending a steeliness, and the wine flows with good energy and tension along a fine-textured line, leading to a long, concentrated finish showing nutty and toasty oak. This is a fresh, finely concentrated Chardonnay with stonefruit and creamy barrel-ferment flavours, nutty and toasty oak, and a steely freshness. Match with grilled and roasted seafood, pork and poultry over the next 4 years. Mendoza and clone 15 fruit predominantly from Haumoana and Te Awanga, hand-picked and 60% fermented in barrel and 40% in tank to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in new and seasoned barrels, the wine undergoing batonnage and partial MLF. 18.0/20 Jan 2018 RRP $24.99

Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, paler edged. This has a soft and harmonious nose, gently voluminous showing aromas of white peach with subtle citrus fruit notes, entwined with hints of nutty and toasty oak and suggestions of flinty lees. Creamy barrel-ferment elements unfold with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has well-bound and restrained flavours of white stonefruits and citrus fruits entwined with delicate nutty nuances. The mouthfeel has a subtle richness with fruit sweetness and creamy barrel-ferment textures providing a smooth-flowing line. The phenolic textures are integrated and fresh acidity provides drive and energy, carrying the wine to a light, lingering finish of stonefruits, smoke and nuts. This is an elegant Chardonnay with restrained stonefruit flavours and subtle inputs, showing a gentle richness and a smooth flowing line. Match with seafood and poultry over the next 4 years, Clones Mendoza and 15 from vines 13-20 y.o., over 70% of the fruit from the ‘Te Awanga Estate’ vineyard fermented in barrel with approx.10% in tank, 50% by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 15% new French oak barriques on lees with batonnage and 55% MLF. 17.0+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.99
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