Tucked away at the far eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a family- owned collection of vineyards, named after the serene inlet that is Man O’ War Bay. Varied topography gives rise to velvety, sophisticated reds and elegant, balanced whites.
For over a decade and more than 30 vintages, Duncan McTavish has been at the helm as winemaker, and he credits “a magic piece of land and pure passion” as well as a solid team effort as being the key factors that make Man O’ War wines special.
There’s a lot happening at Man O’ War to keep them busy quite apart from the actual growing of the grapes and making of the wine. A new winery is under construction to be 2020 vintage-ready, they’ve opened a new restaurant and events pavilion, and launching a bus service to and from the main ferry terminal.
With all these goings on, 2019 happened to also bring with it twice the average yield for the winery– happily, it was of superb-quality grapes.
On the wine front, explains Duncan, “We’ve released our latest gold-label wines, named Kulta (Finnish for gold). At this stage there are two wines, both from 2013 – a Syrah and a Bordeaux blend, both highly rated and very delicious”.
Duncan says he’s hard- pressed to pick a favourite from all that he crafts. “Every wine is special to me but at the moment I’m tasting chardonnay blends to create our Valhalla 2019 and Kulta 2019, so I’ll go with chardonnay for this summer.” And we agree, there’s no better way to toast summer than with a crisp Man O’ War chardonnay.
Man O’ War Pinque - A Provençale- style rosé made with malbec, merlot and syrah – utterly clean and crisp. $27.99/bottle
Man O’ War Ironclad - Bordeaux blends put Waiheke on the map and this one is exemplary. It drinks very well young and cellars to savoury brilliance. $48.99/bottle
Man O’ War Dreadnaught - From the steepest vineyards, this classic-style syrah boasts vibrant flavours and a uniquely fresh finish. $63.99/bottle
Man O’ War Exiled - A fresh palate with the right hint of decadence and a clean finish. Slight natural effervescence is the icing on the cake. $33.99/bottle