Rod McDonald ‘Trademark’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2011

Rod McDonald set out on his own with a vision to do great things with Syrah in Hawke’s Bay. On the way, he got distracted and set up the burgeoning Rod McDonald Wines company which includes brands such as ‘Quarter Acre’, ‘Two Gates’, ‘Te Awanga Estate’, Blanket hills’ among others and a contract winegrowing and winemaking business involving the purchased, refurbished and modified former Pernod-Ricard winery in Napier which has around two dozen clients.

However at the start of August, Rod released his flagship ‘Trademark’ Syrah which gets him back on track with his dream to showcase Hawke’s Bay Syrah. I attended the launch luncheon of this wine at Osteria del Toro in Wellington. There, Rod put this wine in the context of his premium ‘Quarter Acre’ wines, and explained his journey so far, and his position now to make a significant step forward with this project. The ‘Trademark’ Syrah 2011 is really a wine that is at the first stage of making vinous expressions that explore the potential greatness and character of the variety in different sites, and how they might interact and complement each other. (Click here to see my report on the luncheon, Rod’s background to the wine and my impressions of the wine.) Even with this release, I feel he has hit the mark, and I’ve rated the wine a serious 19.5/20 and 5-stars. Here, I give the wine more critical attention with this ‘Feature Review’. www.rmwines.co.nz


  • Rod McDonald ‘Trademark’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2011

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