Know your wine: A beginner’s guide to the most common types of wine

Taylor Tobin Aug 13, 2021, | Insider

  • The main types of wine include red, white, rosé, sparkling, and fortified and dessert wines.
  • Exploring new wines can help expand your palette and knowledge of drinks to pair with different dishes.
  • Grapes from all over the world give wines a range of flavours from fruity to oaky to dry.
Wine types vary and each style has a distinct taste that suits different people's preferences. d3sign/Getty Images
Wine types vary and each style has a distinct taste that suits different people’s preferences. d3sign/Getty Images

Humans have produced and enjoyed wine for over 8000 years, so it stands to reason that this grape-based beverage would be easy and stress-free to enjoy, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Wine education covers a great deal of information, from grape types to geographic regions to flavour profiles. While some drinkers love to geek out to the nuances and details of this subject, others can feel a bit overwhelmed when they walk into a wine shop.

While there’s no limit to the amount of information that you can learn, a few basic guidelines will help direct your shopping experience and allow you to get your hands on a bottle that suits your tastes and preferences.

As vast as the world of wine is, most wines can be classified into five main categories: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and fortified and dessert wines. Below, you’ll find a rundown of these categories, with a breakdown of 28 popular variety types.

To offer some expert insight, we’ve enlisted sommelier and wine educator Caroline Conner of @winedinecaroline, who teaches online courses to wine lovers seeking to enhance their knowledge and broaden their wine-related horizons.

Why is it important to know about different types of wine?

“The best way to learn about wine is to approach it like learning a language,” says Conner. “You can DIY it, but without lots of real-life practice, it’s hard to get anywhere.” Knowing what you’re tasting and why can help you along your wine journey in a number of ways:

Developing your palate: You may have heard the term “palate” tossed around by wine drinkers in the past, but it really just refers to a sense of taste, which can be developed by simply tasting. The more flavours you experience, the more sophisticated your palate will become because you’ll understand how taste elements differ from each other and how they work together to create unforgettable flavours.

Discovering food and wine pairings: Wine and food are a natural match for each other, and when you figure out which wines taste best with which dishes (according to your own palate), then you can take your meals to the next level.

Gaining a global perspective on wine: As corny as it sounds, you really can “travel the world” by tasting wines from different countries, continents, and regions. Learning about the climate and soil conditions of a particular country can help you understand how the wines from that nation develop their flavours. Paying attention to common wine and food pairings from that country will clue you in on how best to enjoy the bottles you purchase.

How to talk about wine

Because flavours are so subjective, it’s easy to dismiss wine-tasting terms as pretentious and less-than-useful. However, understanding a few basic phrases can give you all the vocabulary you need to describe the wines you enjoy (and the ones that you don’t). To get you started, here are a few commonly-used wine words:

Dry: “Dry” essentially translates to “not sweet”. Dry wines don’t contain residual sugar from the fermentation process (or, if they do, it’s in a very low quantity).

Off-dry: An off-dry wine features a small amount of residual sugar, which gives it a gentle sweetness. The French term for off-dry, “demi-sec,” is also frequently used in wine tastings and on bottle labels.

Sweet: A sweet wine — also known as a dessert wine — contains significant amounts of residual sugar and has a pronounced sweetness in its flavour.

Oaky: Many red wines and certain white wines undergo a process of ageing in oak barrels, and said barrels impart a woodsy, toasty flavour to the wine. The more time the wine spends in the oak barrels, the stronger the “oaky” flavour will become.

Full-bodied: This is a term generally used to describe red wines, and it refers to both the flavour of the wine and to its texture. A full-bodied wine boasts rich, complex flavours, a robust texture that coats your mouth and tongue, and (in most cases) a higher alcohol content than a light-bodied or medium-bodied wine.

Tannins/Tannic: Tannins are natural compounds found in wine grapes (particularly in the skins of said grapes). These compounds affect the texture of the wine in the mouth; the drying sensation that you may experience when drinking a glass of red wine comes from tannins. Tannins exist in both white and red wines, but because red wines are produced and aged with the grape skins still in contact, the tannic structure of red wines tends to be more prominent.

Grape: The vast majority of wines produced worldwide use grapes as their core ingredient. Wine grapes differ from “table grapes” designed for eating; they’re typically smaller, juicier, and more acidic. Most wine grapes are of the Vitis vinifera species, a style of grape specifically cultivated for wine production.

Style: Some wines are named after the style of grape used to make them; “Chardonnay”, “Cabernet Sauvignon”, and “Pinot Noir” are all examples of grapes that often lend their names to their wines. However, some wines take their names from the regions where they’re produced. French wines are especially notable for this pattern: “Champagne”, “Bordeaux”, and “Burgundy” all fit into the “wines named after regions” theme.

Now that you know how to talk about it, let’s get into the wines themselves. Below are many of the most popular wine styles you’ll find in stores and at restaurants, along with a few underrated gems.

Red Wines

Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular red wine, while a merlot offers a softer taste. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular red wine, while a merlot offers a softer taste. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Merlot is a red grape that’s grown throughout Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, and the United States. According to Conner, “some of the greatest wines in the world” are Merlots. “It’s plummy and juicy, and a bit softer than Cabernet [Sauvignon], which it is often blended with,” she says. It tastes delicious alongside charcuterie boards, roasted vegetables, and even cheeseburgers.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon can grow in a wide variety of regions and is, therefore, an easy bottle to scoop up at any wine shop. As for flavour, Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and dry. “Cabernet Sauvignon is ‘bigger’ than Merlot, and it has lots of tannins, which are those chewy, drying particles in reds,” says Conner. “It’s wildly popular and you can find stunning examples all over the world.”

Pinot Noir

“Pinot Noir is widely loved because it’s one of the rare lighter reds, but has tons of flavour and complexity,” says Conner. “It’s most famously from Burgundy, but there’s great Pinot all over the place, like in Oregon, New Zealand, and even Germany.” But she does warn that these wines can be fairly pricey: “Pinot is picky and fickle, it’s prone to disease and only thrives in certain climates. You have to be a good winemaker to make the best of it, in any conditions! That’s why it’s so prized, because when it’s good, it’s good, and the winemaker took these grapes from the right place, treated them right, and made them sing.”

Syrah/Shiraz

Wines made with this red grape can claim two names, depending on where the grapes are grown and where the wines are produced. In the Rhȏne Valley region of France, these wines are called Syrah, but in Australia, they’re known as Shiraz. In both cases, you’ll find a rich, deeply-hued red wine with strong dark-berry notes and high tannins.

Zinfandel

Like Syrah/Shiraz, the Zinfandel grape produces “big” red wines with lots of stage presence. Notes of dark fruit, tobacco, and leather are common when tasting Zinfandels. It’s a popular grape in California vineyards (and most Zinfandel is indeed grown in the Golden State), but you can also find it in Italy, South Africa, and New Zealand.

Gamay

The Gamay grape is perhaps best known as the primary grape used to make Beaujolais. Made in France, Beaujolais wines are beloved for their light texture, high acidity, low tannins, and bright fruit flavours. Every November, the first release of Beaujolais bottles (known as “Beaujolais Nouveau”) makes a huge splash in the wine market both in the U.S. and abroad.

Sangiovese

If you’ve ever enjoyed a glass of Chianti at an Italian restaurant, then you’ve experienced the Sangiovese grape. This purple-red grape produces many styles of wine made throughout Italy, all notable for their medium body, high tannins, red fruit flavours, and hints of spice. If you need a wine to pour at a red-sauce dinner, then Sangiovese will do you right.

White Wines

Chardonnay

Some well-known white wines include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariño. Mykhailo Lukashuk/Getty Images
Some well-known white wines include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariño. Mykhailo Lukashuk/Getty Images

“Chardonnay is a true winemaker’s grape; it can really do it all,” says Conner. “A lot of people think they don’t like it because all they’ve tried is their mom’s oak-bomb, buttered-popcorn ’90s Chardonnay. This style still exists, but it’s not very trendy anymore, so it’s easy to find Chards with less oak, more fruit, and more balance. Try Chablis from France if you want to taste a spectacular unoaked Chardonnay.”

Sauvignon Blanc

This white grape famously makes lightweight wines with clean acidity and pronounced fruitiness. “Sauvignon Blanc is all about that fruit,” says Conner. “It has two main styles: the super-intense version with passion fruit aromas coming out of New Zealand, and the more restrained, grassy French style from Sancerre. There are great Sauvignon Blancs from Chile and the USA too.”

Riesling

White grapes are typically easier to grow in cooler climates than red grapes, and Riesling, which originally hails from Germany, serves as a prime example. Riesling wine is highly versatile; it can be sweet, dry, still, sparkling, and anything in between. Its fruity, floral flavours tend to pair well with white meat, fish, and anything spicy.

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Known as Pinot Grigio in Italy and Pinot Gris in France, this white grape makes a highly approachable and popular wine with citrus notes, zingy acidity, and a pleasant undercurrent of minerality. Alongside a platter of fresh seafood or a cheese plate, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris truly shines.

Gewürztraminer

The Gewürztraminer grape is native to Germany, and wines made with it tend to feature fruit flavours like apricot and pear, along with herbaceous notes. In the US, Gewürztraminer proves especially popular at Thanksgiving, thanks to the fact that the wine’s gentle fruit and herbal aromas pair perfectly with turkey, stuffing, and all of the fixings.

Chenin Blanc

Commonly grown in the Loire Valley of France and in South Africa, the Chenin Blanc grape translates to a white wine that’s light-bodied, appealingly tart, and easy to pair with a variety of dishes. Try it with soft cow’s milk cheeses like brie or with grilled or roasted veggies.

Albariño

If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc but want a white wine with even more fruit presence, then Albariño, a wine style native to Spain, could be perfect for you. Albariño is a medium-bodied white, which means it works very well as a food wine. Pair it with shellfish, white meat, or an entrée salad.

Rosé

Rosé wine is made by removing skins from red grapes. Dulin/Getty Images
Rosé wine is made by removing skins from red grapes. Dulin/Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, most rosé wines aren’t made by combining white grape juice with red grape juice. Instead, they’re made by removing the skins from red grapes after a brief period of time, resulting in a wine that’s light, refreshing, and a pretty shade of pink.

Provençal Rosé

Some rosés are made with only one type of red grape, but many — like the mega-popular, super-refreshing pale-pink rosés that come from Provençe, France — come from a blend of grapes. Conner urges us to embrace blended wines like Provençal rosés: “I think that blends are underrated,” she says. “Many of the famous European wines are blends, and all the better for it! Blending is part of the art of winemaking, and especially with climate change disrupting vineyards, it will continue to be important in order to achieve balanced wines.”

Zinfandel Rosé

Zinfandel rosés got a bad rap for many years due to the perception of “White Zinfandel” as overly sweet and not especially nuanced. However, you can now find plenty of quality Zinfandel rosés on the market, and many feature a delicate sweetness that makes them a great partner for BBQ dishes or grilled salmon.

Grenache Rosé

Grenache is one of the grapes most commonly used in the Provençal rosé blend, but you can also find rosés made solely from this red grape. Grenache rosés burst with summery fruit flavours like strawberry and watermelon, and they’re delicious with Caprese salads, grilled eggplant, and Mediterranean fare.

Sangiovese Rosé

Italian “Rosato” wine often comes from the Sangiovese grape, which gives this varietal a darker hue than some competitors and makes it a robust and spicy wine with plenty of red fruit flavour. There’s no better partner for Sangiovese rosé than pizza (especially grilled pizza).

Tempranillo Rosé

Spanish Tempranillo (also grown in the US and South America) has an almost savoury quality to it, which gives this medium-bodied rosé an advantage where food friendliness is concerned. Enjoy it with anything from grilled meats to tacos to seafood to Spanish classics.

Sparkling Wines

Champagne

Champagne isn't the only type of sparkling wine — there's also Crémant, prosecco, Cava, and Lambrusco. Yulia Naumenko/Getty Images
Champagne isn’t the only type of sparkling wine — there’s also Crémant, prosecco, cava, and Lambrusco. Yulia Naumenko/Getty Images

Some drinkers use “Champagne” as a catch-all term for “sparkling wine,” but the only wines that can truly claim the Champagne name must be produced in the Champagne region of France from grapes grown there. You can use white grapes to make a Champagne (called a “blanc des blancs”) or red grapes (a “blanc des noir”), but either way, you’ll end up with a phenomenal bottle packed with citrus notes, a bit of yeastiness, and a prominent fizz.

Crémant

Not all sparkling wines produced in France fall into the Champagne category. If a wine is made using the same techniques as Champagne but isn’t from the Champagne region, then it’s known as a Crémant. Crémants boast many of the same flavour characteristics as Champagne, but they can often be purchased at a far lower price, making them one of the best bargains in the wine world.

Prosecco

These once-obscure sparkling wines of Venice now claim a major share in the wine market, and these Italian sparklers are bright, crisp, fresh, and very reasonably priced. Drink with a cheese and charcuterie board for a great start to a fun evening.

Cava

Cava, the sparkling wine most closely associated with Spain, uses the same production process as Champagne, but it’s made with a different range of grapes. The result is a dry and lively wine with a pleasant minerality — an almost flinty taste that comes from the soil where the grapes are grown. In fact, this minerality makes Cava a smart pairing choice for creamy dishes and sauces, since the wine has enough fortitude to cut through those weightier ingredients.

Lambrusco

All of the sparklers listed above are whites — even the Champagnes that are made from red grapes. But you can also find sparkling reds, a great example of which is a Lambrusco. Lambrusco comes from Italy and is made from grapes of the same name. It can be either sweet or dry, but all versions have a relatively light body and a potent fizziness that makes it a whimsical choice for pizza or pasta night.

Fortified and dessert wines

Port

Fortified and dessert wines include Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Moscato. Westend61/Getty Images
Fortified and dessert wines include Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Moscato. Westend61/Getty Images

One of the most popular sweet wines on the market, Port takes its name from its country of origin, Portugal. It’s a fortified wine, which means that it has a distilled spirit added to it, upping its alcohol content. Port comes in four different varieties: Ruby (a red Port), Tawny (a barrel-aged Port), White (a Port made with white grapes), and Rosé (a Port made the same way a typical rosé wine would be made). Bold cheeses, BBQ with a sweeter glaze, and, of course, desserts all pair beautifully with Port.

Sherry

Like Port, Sherry qualifies as a fortified wine. It comes from the Andalusia region of Spain, and while all Sherry undergoes some level of ageing, darker versions (like Oloroso Sherry and Amontillado Sherry) spend more time in the barrel than lighter versions (like Fino Sherry). Sherry can be drier than other fortified wines, which gives it more food flexibility. It works just as well with an appetizer spread as it does with dessert.

Madeira

Madeira, a fortified wine from a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa, bears many similarities to Port and Sherry. It often features nutty flavours and a hint of caramel, along with fruit notes like orange and peach.

Moscato

A sweet Italian wine made from the Muscat Blanc grape, Moscato can be either still, sparkling, or semi-sparkling (with a lighter level of effervescence). The most popular Moscato, known as Moscato d’Asti, falls into the latter category. Moscato’s pronounced but not overwhelming sweetness lets it pair nicely with spicy dishes, savoury cheeses, and fruit-based desserts.

Insider’s takeaway

At the end of the day, a “good wine” is any wine that you enjoy. Spending serious bucks on high-end bottles isn’t necessary for a great tasting experience, but a bit of know-how will help simplify your shopping and will increase your chances of ending up with a wine that’s exactly what you want to drink.

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ABBEY Winery & Brewery wines with soul

While up in the Hawkes Bay for FAWC during Queens Birthday weekend, as well as attending the Fun Do evening [read Fondue!], we visited the Abbey Winery and Brewery – an excellent choice too!

Abbey Winery and Brewery lies in the Bridge Pa Triangle of Hawkes Bay on the old Ngaruroro riverbed. From these red meal alluvial soils, Abbey Cellars produces world-class wines from a wide range of varietals. As a single estate winery, they use only what they grow themselves to create their wines.

Reserve a group table at the Abbey kitchen for tasting & dining
Reserve a group table at the Abbey kitchen for tasting & dining

When you go there, you can enjoy a flight of four wines [75ml each] for $15. Our choice was:

  • 2018 Reisling – diesel on the nose; lime on the palate; dry on the back of the mouth; better at room temperature than chilled as it opens up on your taste buds.
  • 2020 Rose’ – Malbec and Franc mixture – jubes on the nose; smooth red berries on the tongue; dry after taste but not unpleasant; pleasant pink colour
  • 2019 Envy Carmenere [originally planted in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, a member of the Cabernet family of grapes] – named for its crimson colour [really dark red], 12 months in French Oak; dry on the nose, slightly smokey too; dry to taste with leather coming through; black pepper at the back of the throat – food makes this wine really smooth to drink
  • 2019 Temptation Malbec – 12 months in French oak, smooth, dry on the nose and at the back of the throat, cloves on the tongue; dark red colour – add food, and you get black pepper at the back of the throat, and the nose intensifies

This place was well worth the stop, both for the wine tasting, wine purchase and the food.

I would recommend putting it on people’s itinerary when up in the Bay.

Editor

French vineyard was a tarnished asset when it was sold on a handshake – now it’s a $1b superstar

Devon Pendleton | May 16, 2018

Chateau Margaux dates from 1812; the property, now owned by Corinne Mentzelopoulos, has been a wine estate since the 18th century.

When her father died in 1980, Corinne Mentzelopoulos inherited a business empire that included 1600 grocery stores, 80 buildings in central Paris, a hotel that was once the home of Louis XIV-and a run-down vineyard the family had purchased almost on a whim three years earlier.

Today, the vineyard has made her a billionaire. It’s Chateau Margaux, one of just a handful of properties that can claim the prized Premier Cru designation bestowed by Napoleon III in 1855 upon Bordeaux’s very best terroirs for making wine.

Continue reading “French vineyard was a tarnished asset when it was sold on a handshake – now it’s a $1b superstar”

Chilled red wines and warmer white wines have more flavour

Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.
Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.

Thomas Heaton | January 25 2018

Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.

Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.

Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.

Noblerot Chef Joshua Dodd with co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny

Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.

During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.

“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.

“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”

That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.

She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.

“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.

Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.

“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.

Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.

So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.

Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.

Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.

Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.

“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”

The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.

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Viking River Cruise Promotion

viking-river-cruise-promotion577b84d3ecc30Dear fellow member of the New Zealand Wine Community,

Are you interested in the trip of a lifetime that truly celebrates the art and culture of wine?

Then join us and Explore Bordeaux like never before Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, Médoc and Margaux are but a handful of the appellations that make Bordeaux wines world famous. At the heart of this legendary region, the city of Bordeaux invites visitors to savour its grand architecture, tempting cafés and superb museums. Celebrate joie de vivre in this land of wine and oysters, truffles and cognac, as you cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers.

We have been given the opportunity to put together a group of wine lovers from New Zealand and send them on a journey never to forget.

Viking River Cruises is one of the most amazing river cruising companies in Europe whose amenities, service and itineraries are second to none. The Chateaux, Rivers and Wine cruise will take you on a journey into the depth of Bordeaux with an opportunity to enter into the most stunning venues and experiences.

As we are creating a group booking this will give us access to the best discounted prices available, which will include the cruise package which we have an unbeatable group rate combined with the option of return Airfares to and from Europe for $550 per person. We will also have some fantastic options if you wish to extend your journey and see some more of Europe.

This will be taking place in July 2017 if you think that this maybe something of interest to yourself or any of your colleagues, please let me know.

Should you have any further questions or would like to receive some brochure’s in the mail, please don’t hesitate to contact us on either 0800 625 427 or at newplymouth@cruiseabout.co.nz.

Kindest Regards,
The team at Cruiseabout

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Man O’ War – Oct 2015 – Looking back

2015-10-17-5621b9075e214A very enjoyable tasting We had a great evening and Ben Coles was a relaxed and entertaining presenter. The wines were more than pleasant and members were keen to make orders. Yet another top tasting, to repeat the wines offered;

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend

Check out the tasting review.

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Tasting review – Man-O-War, Waiheke

There are not many times when tasting wines you come across a range that fulfils everything it promises. Duncan, the team at Man O’ War, and our presenter Ben have produced a range the would not let anyone down. Everyone had their favourite on the night right across the lineup.

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend
20151014_203636
Click image for more in the gallery

Ben, the GSM at Man o’ War is an ingenious speaker; knowledgeable, funny, with a great personality; a great representative for Man O’ War. I noted a few of Ben’s one-liners:

  • Berocca pee (in reference to Marlborough Sauv’s)
  • Better red than dead
  • Gotta go big or go home
  • Drink some tea (in reference to waiting for wine to ferment)
  • Global warming is John Key,s fault (needing to pick 2012 crop later than usual due to wet weather)
  • Waiheke is a piece of dirt in a big blue thing (in reference to an ideal location)

Man O’ War is 150 acres made up of 76 individual parcels of land providing great diversity in soil type, prevailing winds and temperature, allowing the winemaker to source the best of what’s on offer to make incredibly decadent wines.

The Gravestone as you’d expect was far your typical sauv. Silky with a touch of sweetness with a slight minerality finish – pleasant. 15/20

I have been drinking the ’09 and ’10 Valhalla – exceptional wines. The 2014 rendition was smokey, no malo ferment due to basalt soils, and a beautifully balanced wine. Yes needs five years but worth the wait. 19/20

The Pinot Gris bottled at 4° gave a slight tingle on the tongue. Ben mentioned this raises the CO2 levels so there’s more in the bottle – about 4 ml. 17/20

The inaugural release of Pinque, named after a  flat-bottomed ship, was gently pressed wine in the champagne style over 6 hours. A pale pink hue gives way to a savoury cranberry nose and clean dry finish. 15/20

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Click image for more in the gallery

The white label Merlot dominant (45%) Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite wines anytime. I can recommend the ’06 and ’07 as it has aged wonderfully well so 2012 won’t let you down. Fruity, light tannin feel on the teeth, not the mouth, and a smooth rich finish. 17/20. Now for the biggies.

The Ironclad, silky elegance. Savoury mince nose, rich lingering finish. An exciting wine that I’ve laid down for at least ten years. 19/20. The Dreadnought gave a hint of bayleaf, bacon and blueberries, finished off with savoury and minerality overtones. Ben said Pinot Noir on steroids and that’s the beauty of this wine. Another for ageing. 18/20.

Tasting details

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Ben Coles, Global Sales Manager

About Man O’ War

The Winemaker at Man O’ War is Duncan McTavish. His heart and soul and enormous talent are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. Of singular personality, they are indeed the “definitive translation of our land.”

The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology degree at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy,
Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand. This apprenticeship culminated in 2001 when he landed a job with one of New Zealand’s best wine producers, the Waipara Valley’s inimitable
Pegasus Bay. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his winemaking ideas at Waipara Springs. In 2008, Man O’ War were fortunate enough to entice
Duncan to go north to Man O’ War. He now makes his home on Waiheke living above Onetangi Beach with his partner Vanessa, son Tommy and a baby daughter.

We look forward to sharing the Man O’ War philosophy and wines with Ben, who is the Global Sales Manager for the winery.

Man O’ War Legacy – ‘Discovered’ in 1769

The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land which has a rich 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.  Continue reading →

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