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: Man O War


Man 'O War

Man O War Rd, Man O War Bay, Waiheke Island

Cellar Door: Fri - Sun (12 - 6)

The Ph: 09 950 3285

Avenmore Tastings
Man 'O War's vineyards are spread across 90 pockets in the rugged coastal terrain of the eastern Waiheke Island an Ponjui Island (Photo courtesy: Man 'O War)

Man 'O War is located on the eastern end of Waiheke Island. There are 150 acres of vines as part of a much larger 1500 acre rugged coastal agricultural property. The area takes its name from Captain Cook who commented that the trees in the area would make good masts for the Royal Navy.

The first vines were established in 1993. They are spread across 90 tiny pockets due to the terrain.

The wine-maker Duncan McTavish was the inaugural graduate from Lincoln Universitys oenology school and has worked in California and the Bordeaux. Gisborne born, Montana-trained viticulturalist. Matt Allen deals with the disparate vines.

The wines are divided into the premium Black Label and White label. The Dreadnought Syrah and Ironclad Bordeaux blend are generally the best wines.

The Man O Wars marketing team has been recognized at the 2009 Innovation in Wine Awards, winning the Amcor Innovation in Wine Marketing-Winery Brand Award for their innovative use of new media such as Facebook, Twitter and U-Tube.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

Man OWar Dreadnought Syrah 2014

Purchased: Not ($A54)

Drink: 2024

(GXY) Tasting: June 2017, 15% whole cluster inclusion, milder vintage, the heavy reductive leathery character is a bit diminished this vintage, powerful blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry with white pepper and anise notes, gamy with graphite minerality from the whole cluster inclusion,medium-full bodied with firm,powdery tannins and good persistence (****1/2)

Man OWar Pique Rose 2016

Purchased: Not ($NZ27)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: June 2017, salmon-pink colour, floral and dry blend of Merlot. Malbec and Syrah with a hint of spritz, fresh strawberry, cranberry and watermelon with a touch of green herbs, minerals and slightly creamy with powdery phenolics and a crisp finish, good length (****)

Man O War Dreadnought Syrah 2012

Purchased: Not ($NZ48)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, I have had an issue with excessive burnt rubber reductive aspects on the nose in some previous releases, this release is much fresher and fragrant showing black cherry and boysenberry with leather, anise, violet, smoked game and asian spice notes, dark earth and medium bodied palate with firm powdery tannins (****1/2)

Man O War Bellerophon Syrah Viognier 2014

Purchased: Not ($NZ54)

Drink: 2021

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, co-fermented with about 4% Viognier, some whole cluster inclusion, slightly reductive but has a juicy core of black cherry, raspberry and plums with bay leaf, anise, twigs, violets and white pepper notes, medium-full bodied with dark earthiness and sappy acidity, the Viognier rounds out the slinky but firm tannins (****)

Man O War Exiled Ponui Island Pinot Gris 2013

Purchased: Not ($A32/$NZ33)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, St. Helena clone, intense, medium-sweet style, waxy yellow peach, poached pear and tangerine with cinnamon and gingery spices, powdery phenolics with the necessary balancing crunchy orange peel acidity (****)

Man O War Valhalla Chardonnay 2012

Purchased: Not ($A45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, no malo but fermented in 20% new puncheons, fresh yellow peach, apricot peel and rock melon with flinty notes, crisp, linear palate is supported with toasty hazelnut/vanilla oak and lively orange rind acidity, chalky phenolics (***1/2)

Man O War Valkyrie Viognier 2012

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: July 2013, whole bunch pressed and fermented in one year old French puncheons, rather rich, aromatic and intense with some botrytis influences, canned pineapple, granny smith apples and apricot with gingery and musky spices and a touch of hazelnut, has a good line, dry mouth-feel and not excessively oily, the powdery phenolics do have some bitter edges, warming 15% alcohol is evident but there is plenty of fruit weight, its a rather opulent style (****)

Man OWar Gravestone Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Purchased: Not ($A32/$NZ33)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, 70% Semillon/30% Sauvignon Blanc, the Semillon is barrel fermented, dry, rich and waxy guava and peach with some grassy/nettle and dried fennel aspects, palate unfolds in a good line with a lingering flinty orange peel/lime finish (****1/2)

Man OWar Deadnought Waiheke Island Syrah 2010

Purchased: Not ($A55/$NZ52)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, 100% destemmed, medium-full bodied blueberry and blackberry with soy, liquorice, asian spice and a touch of saddle leather, complex palate shows a range of sweet and savoury contrasts, shows an almost peat-like earthiness, chewy fine-grained tannin, the 20% new oak is in balance, still tight and needs medium term cellaring to show its best (****)

Man OWar Exiled Ponui Island Pinot Gris 2012

Purchased: Not ($A32/$NZ33)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, St. Helena clone, bold style, whole bunch pressed in a medium-sweet style (30 gms/l residual sugar), chilled to below freezing to stop fermentation at desired balance, small botrytis inclusion adds complexity, rich and waxy yellow peach and mango with a light touch of cinnamon and gingery spices, light touch of spritz , balanced citric acidity (****)

Man OWar Valhalla Chardonnay 2010

Purchased: Not ($A45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, no malo but fermented in 20% new puncheons, rich and ripe yellow peach, lychee, melon and pineapple with matchcstick notes, some flinty minerality, fairly broad palate with spicy and toasty hazelnut/vanilla oak, fresh orange rind acidity (***1/2)

Man OWar Ironclad Bordeaux Blend 2010

Purchased: Not ($A55/$46)

Drink: N/A

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, Bordeaux Right Bank style, blend of 39% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon from 45 sites on Waiheke Island, dense and firm plum and redcurrants with tobacco, dried thyme and anise notes, lots of peaty-graphite minerality, unfortunately the wine I tasted is dominated by an overwhelming sweaty leather/burnt rubber nose that I havent seen in previous vintages, perhaps there is some bottle handling issues or too many mercaptans (they have a very low sensory threshold), for this reason it is not fair to give a score until I can to sample another bottle. There were similar issues with the new Warspite Ponui Island Blend as well (No Score Allocated)

Man OWar Pinot Gris 2011

Purchased: Not ($A21)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, whole bunch pressed in an off-dry style at 23 gms/l residual sugar, waxy canned apricot, peach and passionfruit with a light touch of cinnamon spice and a refreshing touch of spritz (***1/2)

Man OWar Ironclad Bordeaux 2008

Purchased: Not ($A45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, aromatic and tarry blend of 52% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 11% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, this vintage has more Merlot than the 2007, ripe and fleshy with cassis, plum and boysenberry with asian spice, mint leaf and leather complexity, medium-full bodied with fine sheets of drying tannin and graphite, the mainly French oak brings charry cedar and a dab of chocolate to the finish, fairly open compared to the 2007 but well structured (****1/2)

Man OWar Dreadnought Syrah 2008

Purchased: Not ($A45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, lively and meaty blueberry and plum with anise, white pepper and herbs, tarry palate with graphite minerality, the charry mainly seasoned oak brings sawdusty cedar/clove and warm spice, firm linear tannins with just a touch of greeness to the acidity (****)

Man OWar Pinot Gris 2010

Purchased: Not ($A25)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, barrel fermented off dry (15 gms residual sugar/l) style showing passionfruit, lychee and canned pineapple with light spice and nougat, oily with a savoury finish (***1/2)

Man OWar Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Purchased: Not ($A22)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, ripe and quite spicy passionfruit, cut grass and brown lime with a touch of lemon grass, minerally with a touch of red capsicum on the finish but not herbaceous or sweaty, fresh orange rind acidity (***1/2)

Man OWar Valhalla Chardonnay 2009

Purchased: Not ($A38)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, 100% barrel fermented, ripe peach, apricot and melon with matchstick notes, open and lightly buttery, minerally and linear palate with bright lemony acids and toasty hazelnut oak with some oak tannin phenolics (***1/2)

Man OWar Ironclad Bordeaux Blend 2007

Purchased: Not ($A50/$NZ48)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2010, impressive blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot, long and concentrated blackcurrant and boysenberry with leather, cigar box and violet aspects, smooth, medium-full bodied and spicy palate is infused with long, chewy savoury tannins and chocolate-cedar oak, tightly packed (****1/2)

Man OWar Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Purchased: Not ($A24/$24NZ)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2010, crisp green apple, guava and nectarine with dried herbs and a touch of honeysuckle, grainy texture, spicy red capsicum finish with chalky lemon acids (***)

Man OWar Valhalla Chardonnay 2008

Purchased: Not ($A30/$NZ29)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2010, no malo but has undergone 30% barrel ferment, bright yellow peach, lime and guava infused with fine chalky minerality, lively grapefruit acidity with restrained creamy cedar oak inputs (***)