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.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Pa Road Rosé 2020, MarlboroughRosé from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 03-Sep-2020Bright, light salmon-pink, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly fresh, pretty and inviting, aromas of strawberries, peaches and watermelon, underlying petals and subtle spices. Light-bodied, dry to taste, vibrant flavours of strawberry, watermelon follow by peach, bright and youthful, enlivened by mouthwatering acidity. Red florals unveil, along with subtle spices, flows easily on a purity line, leaves a crunchy and refreshing moderate finish. This is a dry, smooth-flowing rosé with aromas of strawberries, watermelon, subtle spices and florals, balanced mouthwatering acid with a refreshing finish. Match with cured salmon and charcuteries over the next 2 years. Blend of 80% Pinot Noir, 12% Riesling, 8% Merlot, fermented to 13% alc, 4 g/l RS. 17.5/20 pts Sept 2020 RRP $17.95
Pa Road Sauvignon Blanc 2020, MarlboroughSauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 03-Sep-2020Bright, very pale yellow with a lime hue, even colour throughout. The nose is fresh and vibrant, nuances of passionfruit, green apple, cassis melded with elderflower and subtle spices. Light-bodied, dry to taste, flavours of lime, green apple and cassis are soft and vibrant, flows softly with a light note of elderflower and subtle white peppery finish. The flavours are brisk and crisp with an immediate appeal; ripe fruit flavours are clean and refreshing, enlivened by the vibrant acidity, brings the wine to a crisp finish. Match with simple seafood over the next 2 years. Fermented in stainless steel with 6% fermented in barrel to 13% alc, 3.5 g/l RS. 16.5/20 pts Sept 2020 RRP $17.95
Pa Road Pinot Gris 2020, MarlboroughPinot Gris from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 03-Sep-2020Bright, pale straw-yellow, even colour throughout. The nose is open and voluminous, aromas of five-spice melded with pear drop, stonefruit, underlay a suggestion of honey. Dryish to taste, medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly presented with aromas of florals and stonefruit and tree fruit, carries along a fine texture line, unfolding honeysuckle and spices. The wine is straight-forward with ripe fruit intensity, flows with good energy along with lively acidity, carries the wine to a moderate nuanced-finish. This is a dryish Pinot Gris with vibrant and ripe fruit on a fine-textured palate. Match with Thai or Vietnamese fare over the next 2 years. Fermented in stainless steel to 13.5% alc, 4.7 g/l RS. 17/20 pts Sept 2020 RRP $17.95
Pa Road Chardonnay 2019, MarlboroughChardonnay from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 03-Sep-2020Bright, medium straw-yellow with some depth, lighter on edge. The nose is soft, elegantly presented, aromas of stonefruit, entwined with nougat, caramel, underlay subtle spices. Medium-bodied, aromas of apple, pear, peach are light and fresh, supported by bright acidity, carries light notes of nougat, almonds and subtle spices on a slightly grippy textured palate. The fruit is fresh and bright with ripeness and acid balance. The wine flows with a good drive carry nougat and oak spices element to a moderately long finish. This is an elegantly presented Chardonnay with flavours of stonefruit, nougat and oak spice elements. Match with pork and chicken over the next 2-3 years. Fermented in a mix of barrels and tanks to 13.% alc. Occasionally stir lees, aged 9 months, 70% MLF. 17/20 pts Sept 2020 RRP $17.95
Pa Road Pinot Noir 2019, MarlboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 03-Sep-2020Deep, ruby-black with a slight deep-purple hue, slightly lighter on the rim. The nose is generous and voluminous, black cherries, dark herbs, melded with florals, smoke and a dark chocolate tone. Medium-full bodied, the palate is packed with aromas of black cherries and dark herbs that are concentrated and rounded, forming an elegant core. Subtle florals, barrel spices and a bitter chocolate tannin linger to a sustained finish. The mouthfeel is rich, coated with a dusty layer of tannin extraction. The fruit has good ripeness and flavour intensity, underlying alcohol power. This is an elegantly-rich Pinot Noir with flavours of black cherries, bitter chocolate and herbs detail. Match with venison grill over the next 3 years. Fermented to 13.5% alc. Aged in tanks and French oak for 9 months. 18-/20 pts Sept 2020 RRP $19.95