Rod McDonald Wines at Decanta Tapas Bar

I attended an excellent tasting last night at the Decanta Tapas Bar in New Plymouth with Rod McDonald, owner and winemaker at Rod McDonald Wines in the Hawke’s Bay. The evening was well attended and as usual, the delicious Tapas provided by Decanta were well matched to the wines. Thanks again to John and the team there for organizing these great monthly tasting events.

Rod is a very relaxed and entertaining presenter, and is passionate about wine-making and his wines as evident by his exuberance, knowledge and the resulting wines we tasted.

While we enjoyed eight wines from 4 of his labels, Rod provided a wealth of information and stories about where and how each wine was made, some even by accident it seems in the case of the ‘One Off’ series.

Rod arrived in Hawke’s Bay in 1993 and spent nine years as winemaker at Vidal Estate in Hawke’s Bay, eventually awarded ‘New Zealand Winemaker of the Year’ in 2006.

He left later that year with a few ideas about what Hawke’s Bay wines could be like, where the great ones would come from, and started Rod McDonald Wines.

His plan was to consult to a few leading producers and launch a family of wines, which now sits with Trademark Syrah, Quarter Acre, Two Gates, Te Awanga Estate and One Off labels. His new winemaking and spiritual home is at The Hawke’s Bay Wine Company in Pandora on the edge of Napier and he has a cellar door is on the coast at mighty Te Awanga.

All the wines tasted on the night were of excellent quality and spoke of the terrior, and Rod’s wine-making skills – we even had a taste of the ‘new release’ 2013 Trademark Syrah which was my pick of the night – stunning wine.

I’ve listed each of the wines below with my brief notes (in italics) plus a link to the tasting notes on Rod’s website.
You will need Adobe Reader to read these as the notes are in .pdf format.

RMWINES1 (Small)

The First Flight – Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé

One Off Albarino 2015
Pale lemon, stone-fruit, lemons, floral, mineral, nice acidity, juicy… Asian food…

Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Pale straw, apples & grapefruit, light body, zesty acidity, long fresh finish, NOT from Marlborough!

Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2015
Soft gold, white peaches, yeasty, subtle oak, juicy, balanced, almost Burgundian…

Te Awanga Strawberry Blonde 2015
Pretty salmon pink, sweet ‘bubblegum’ nose, cherries and spice, nice summer tipple…

RMWINES2 (Small)

The Second Flight – Merlot Cabernet-Franc, Pinot Noir, and Syrah x2

Te Awanga Merlot Cabernet
Black cherry coloured, juicy plums & cherries, savoury notes, fine tannins, soft oak, textured, layered…

One Off Pinot Noir 2014
A big wine, dark cherry, dark plum, berries & spice, complex, textured, luscious & elegant… 

Quarter Acre Syrah 2014
Dark cherry colour, floral, cherries & berries, white pepper, big juicy palate, still young, gorgeous HB Syrah…

Trademark Syrah 2013
Intense aromas of violets, spice, white pepper & cherries, huge complex, juicy, textured, layers of flavour… Stunning wine, blew me away…  Favourite wine of the evening!

It was great getting to having a chat with Rod after the tasting; we talked about our backgrounds in the wine industry, and the influence of social media on marketing wines now in the 21st century.

So thanks Rod, for heading over our way and for the prizes (lucky punters took away a bottle and a magnum of wines) and for the great discounts on the night. I heard it was many years since you last visited, so come back and see us soon with more of your fabulous wines.

Another brilliant entertaining and informative evening tasting more of the 1000’s of wonderful New Zealand wines now available to wine lovers around the world.

For more information, history, images contact details and where to buy locally, visit…




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