Popular New Zealand winemaker Rod McDonald returns to The Wine Country and introduces his latest releases, which include new versions of some of the year's most successful wines.
The Wine Country proudly presents a set of new wines along with their amazing winemaker and founder of Te Awanga Estates’, Rod McDonald for a spectacular wine tasting on Friday September 6th at 7:00 p.m. for our monthly 7@7 tasting. 7 wines at 7.p.m. for just $30!
On Friday, September 6th we will be exploring the region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and a range of wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and an Award winning Syrah! We would love for you to join us in hanging out with winemaker Rod McDonald of Te Awanga Estates for a great night of wine tasting.
Best Wine in Show
Rod began his journey with a love for farming even as a small child, then later got his degree in viticulture. In 1993 he found his love for winemaking, which landed him in Hawke’s Bay. Winemaking for Rod is in the building of the wine. He combines his intuition, the assembly of natural resources along with great land and amazing people as a support system to create his wines.
He worked for 9 years as the head winemaker for Vidal Estates and in 2006 he was award New Zealand’s Winemaker of The Year which lead him into starting his own label Te Awanga Estates.
Here at The Wine Country we don’t make a big deal about scores and awards because we like everyone to make up their own minds and let the wines speak for themselves. But I will say that the 2015 Te Awanga estate quarter Acre Syrah won awards for Best Wine in Show at the International Wine Challenge in London along with trophy’s for best international Syrah, New Zealand Red, and Hawke’s Bay Syrah.
Quarter Acre is where it all started for Rod. This collection of single vineyard wines have minimal intervention; Rod likes to guide the wines in a direction but lets them “do their thing” and keep it as minimalistic as possible when it comes to the winemaking. He lets the wines naturally ferment with no additives, and has it sit on its lees for aging with minimal or no filtration.
Wildflower Becomes Wildsong
2017 Wildflower Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc was the Wine of the Month for us in August 2018 and it is where not only our staff but also our customer found a love for Rod's wines. Nonetheless, do to a trademark issue with the name “Wildflower” the wines name will be changing to Wildsong for the 2018 vintage from Hawkes Bay. The Marlborough bottling will stay "Wildflowe"r for the 2019 vintage, but then will also switch over to Wildsong for the 2020 vintage.
Don’t let the name change fool you; the heart and soul put into these wines hasn’t faded one bit; the exceptional quality and great price of both of these wines make them a true steal. They each represent the terroir of Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough in the best way. Hawke’s Bay has more of a subtle tropical fruit presence while Marlborough packs a big punch in the aroma category with what most expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Wildflower Hawke’s Bay was the wine made me fall in love with Hawke’s Bay as a truly underestimated winemaking region in New Zealand.
2016 Te Awanga Quarter Acre Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
For the Quarter Acre Syrah everything was handpicked and completely destemmed then left for ten days to ferment naturally. The wine was left on the skins for 28 days then pressed and aged in French Oak barriques. This wine is really something special, it has a velvety texture and beautiful aromas of violet and cassis with a savory palate with notes of thyme, dark plum and a touch of earthy green notes. The tannins show dominance and power with a strong drive and longevity on the finish.
$25.99 per bottle
2017 Te Awanga Estates Quarter Acre Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
For the Chardonnay Rod sources his grapes from two vineyards. One of the vineyards is called Doc’s block and it has 20 year-old vines that have been apart of making some of the best chardonnays in Hawke’s Bay. The other blocks are from certified organic vines planted along a riverbed. After the grapes are handpicked, sorted and whole bunch pressed it is put into new and seasoned French Oak barriques which 50% of them are new. The Quarter Acre series is all about letting the wine do its own thing and the Chardonnay isn’t any different. They used the natural wild yeasts for fermentation and then have it sit on its gross lees for 9 months before bottling. The subtle toast of the barrels gives the wine a bit of that warm chardonnay feel without being overly oaky. The wine has wonderful aromas of peach and lemon curd. The body of the wine has a chalky flinty minerality too it that is mouth filling and really representative of the Hawke’s Bay land.
$22.99 per bottle
2017 Te Awanga Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This Pinot Gris Vineyard is planted on an old river terrace that has free draining gravel soils that keep just enough moister in the vineyard to create enough water stress throughout the season which ensures the grapes develop and intensity of flavor and retain a good amount of acidity. To maintain the natural acidity and balance in the wine it spends a little time on its lees then is lightly fined and filtered. The nose of this wine was so enticing that I kept finding myself going back to smell three or four times before I finally took a sip. It was full and vibrant with aromas of white peach and pears with a light floral presence that reminded me of a warm spring day. The palate has the lightest touch of sweetness to help balance the crisp acidity giving it a full body and a long finish.
$22.99 per bottle
2017 Te Awanga Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Te Awanga is located right on the coast in Hawke’s Bay giving it a warm costal climate with a gentle sea breeze and shallow clay soils that produce clean flavors and ripe fruit. This wine has an extended period of time on its lees which gives it a fully body to balance out the typically high acidity you find in Sauvignon Blanc. Aromatics are so important when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc as a varietal especially in New Zealand and when it is done right it makes for a vibrant fresh wine. This wine surly did nail it with aromas of Gooseberry, lime and a touch of guava. The palate brings you a rich mouth filling roundness with essence of passion fruit, grapefruit, and finishes off with bright crisp acidity.
$21.99 per bottle
2017 Te Awanga Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Te Awanga is located right on the coast in Hawke’s Bay giving it a warm costal climate with a gentle sea breeze and shallow clay soils that produce clean flavors and ripe fruit. Like every wine they produce the grapes are handpicked and sorted. Then they destemmed the grapes and left them to naturally ferment. Rod chose to not crush the grapes and left them on the skins for two weeks post ferment. Then the wine was pressed and put into barrels to mature for 14 months in new and used French oak. This Syrah has classic flavors of white pepper, thyme, and violet aromas that lead into a palate that is elegant and pure. The plum and blueberry flavors in this wine are accompanied by a finish of light herbal notes giving the wine a savory finish. The fine tannins give the wine an elegant supple finish.
$25.99 per bottle