Man O’ War Blind Tasting at Itch Wine Bar


Itch Wine Bar in New Plymouth is now my fave place in Taranaki to go for wine tastings – fabulous venue, wonderful staff, well organized tastings with excellent presentations by guest wine folk. Last month we had Kelly Brown from Foxes Island wine which you can read about here.

This month we were  invited to a Blind Tasting of  eight wines from the world renown Man O’ War Vineyards on Waiheke Island.

Jess Old from Red+White Cellar presented 4 flights of wines, each having a wine from the white label ‘Estate’ range and one from the black label ‘Flagship’ range.

Jess gave us a little back ground into the Man O’ War vineyards, the Wine-maker, Duncan McTavish and the brand which uses nautical themes across the range. https://www.manowar.co.nz/#shop

“The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land rich in history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline.

It was along this coastline that Captain James Cook came to anchor during his first voyage around the islands of New Zealand in 1769. Upon sighting the ancient stands of magnificent Kauri trees ashore, Cook noted in his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War warships of the Royal Navy. Thus the name Man O’ War was bestowed upon this unique land.”

There’s so much more to find out here on the Man O’ War website.

It was a new experience for Crystal and Sandy seated at my table as they are novices and were very eager to learn more. I shared my knowledge with them and helped make their tasting experience a bit of fun too, which they both enjoyed.

We had a sample of each wine in flight – The wines were poured together and we had to hazard a guess at which was the estate and which was he flagship wine. Jess helped us along with tips about looking at the colour, the nose and the palate – it was a great deal of fun and the wines as always of excellent quality. Good discounts were offered on all the wines tasted too.

Here are my notes on the wine as tasted.

Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2019 vs Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Wine 1. Pale straw, tropical, pear, spice, lighter style, dry finish – (Estate)
Wine 2. Pale lemon / gold,  nose of yeasty notes, savoury, capsicum, vibrant acidity, textured palate, long juicy finish. (Gravestone)

Estate Pinot Gris 2019 vs Exiled Pinot Gris 2018
Wine 1. Pale lemon straw, medium bodied, pear, apple & lemon citrus nose, crisp acidity, nice fruit and residual sweetness… (Estate)
Wine 2. Bright golden coloured, oily viscosity, spiced apricot, pear & honey nose, stone-fruit, spice & 30 Gms RS with bright acidity – sweet but not cloying. (Exiled)

Estate Chardonnay 2018 vs Valhalla Chardonnay 2018
Wine 1. Golden coloured, nose of ripe stone-fruit, butterscotch, nutty smoky notes. Ripe palate with creamy malo mouthfeel lashings of flavour, texture, complex, delish!  (Valhalla)
Wine2. Medium body, ripe stone-fruit nose with a hint of oak, juicy, textured, pleasant finish easy drinking chardy! (Estate)

Estate Syrah 2017 vs Dreadnought Syrah 2017

Wine 1. Deep cherry red coloured, lots of plum and spice in the nose, lighter bodied wine with ripe black fruit and plum flavours, grippy tannins, long dry finish. (Estate)
Wine 2. Black cherry coloured, red & black berry fruit, pepper, & some green stalkyness in the nose. Full flavoured palate of dark berry, plum, nicely textured, fine grained tannins, very long  finish – my fave wine of the evening (Dreadnought)

Thanks again to the team at Itch Wine Bar and to Jess Old for sharing her knowledge about Man O’ War and her passion for great New Zealand Wine.

More about Man O’ War here: https://www.manowar.co.nz/

More about Itch Wine Bar: http://itchwinebar.co.nz/