Named after Man O’War Bay, which in turn takes its name from the Man O’War battleships piloted by Captain Cook, the Man O’War winery on Waiheke Island in New Zealand produces some of the most wonderful New World wines.
The island itself is incredibly beautiful and the owners of the winery aim to create wines that reflect that beauty, giving them a real sense of place.
Man O’War bay in Waiheke Island takes its name from Captain Cook. Legend has it that he dropped anchor in this bay, saw the Kauri trees growing on the island and remarked that the giant trees would make the perfect masts for the massive Man O’War battleships.
The vineyard was founded in the 1980s, when the Spencer family purchased four farms on Waiheke Island, these now make up the Man O’War Station. The family hoped to both work the land and preserve it for future generations, aiming to do so by creating the best vineyards they could. Their gamble paid off and Man O’War now produces some of the most respected wines that New Zealand has to offer.
The estate’s chief winemaker and CEO, Duncan McTavish, was the first graduate of the Viticulture and Oneology degree program that was offered at Lincoln University in 1998. Over the next three years, Duncan harvested grapes at vineyards in Burgundy, Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand, backbreaking work that held in good stead for his future career in the industry. At the end of this time, he found a job working at Pegasus Bay in the Waipara Valley. After 7 years, he began work at Man O’War and has managed to steer it to new heights over the past decade.
McTavish and his vineyard manager, Matt Allen, have turned Man O’War into a real family affair, with their families living on or near the estate. They both work incredibly hard in order to advance their estate to international peaks and pull ahead of the other wineries that dominate the island. So far, they have been able to do just that, with many of their flagship wines, including the Dreadnaught Syrah, Ironclad Bordeaux blend and Valhalla Chardonnay earning praise and winning awards, both in New Zealand and internationally.
The island where Man O’War is located, Waiheke Island, has become known as the “island of wine” due to the fact that there are over 30 different wineries located there. Man O’War has been able to pull ahead of the pack with its 2,000 hectare property, about 60 of which are planted under vine, and the quality of its wines.
These 60 hectares of vines consist of 106 vineyards that are spread across 76 different hillsides on the island, each with distinct soil profiles. Red wine grapes are planted on steep clay hillsides that drain well and white wine grapes are planted on volcanic hilltops, in order to benefit from the cooling breezes that come in off the bay.
The wine production in the vineyard is pretty well divided by grape, with 20% a red Bordeaux blend, 18% Chardonnay, 16% Syrah, 11% Pinot Gris and 8% Sauvignon Blanc.
The Dreadnought Syrah is one of the estate’s flagship wines, along with the Ironclad Bordeaux Blend. The Dreadnought has intense peppery notes, with notes of game, mocha and dark chocolate. This wine consistently wins top rankings in international tastings, making it well respected the world over.
The Ironclad Bordeaux blend is made from Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also consistently well ranked, as well as being the fourth most popular wine to come from Waiheke Island. It should be noted that the Dreadnought is the second most popular, quite some feat for a small estate in a competitive region.
For you, we have selected the 2015 Man O’War Dreadnought Syrah.