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Man O' War Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Malbec 2011

The Experience

Drink When...
Far-flung realms
Listen To...
Parallel Universe by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Think About...
Parallel Bordeaux
Drink With...
Aberdeen Angus steak

The Oddbins Take

Waiheke Island, off the coast of Auckland, has some of New Zealand’s most northerly wineries. You’d think that would make it a tad too tropical for Bordeaux-inspired winemaking, being flanked by the Southern Ocean, the South Pacific and the Tasmanian Sea, it is breezy to say the least.

In the case of this Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, which is vinified in 25 separate batches under the expert watch of winemaker Duncan McTavish, this unique climate has resulted in a beautiful wine with lifted aromas of crushed red berries and darker cassis, with hints of coffee, liquorice, clove, Mediterranean herbs and cedar.

The Vital Statistics

New Zealand
Can Be Drunk Now - Will Evolve Over the Next 6 Years
Bottle Size
Regular - 750ml
Residual Sugar
1 g/l
Alcohol Units

In stock



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The Style

Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot
Light Full bodied
Dry Sweet

Notable Features

  • Suitable For Vegetarians
  • Suitable For Vegans

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Man O' War

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Richard Hemming in The Purple Pages, 20/11/15: "So much more satisfying than many a Bordeaux at this price! Developed, interesting fruit and spice, a little iodine character, dry and lightly textured tannin."

Man O' War began planting vines on Waiheke Island in 1993. There are now 150 acres of vines planted by Man O' War vineyards which are split into 76 individual hillside blocks. The name Man O' War originates from the discovery of Waiheke Island. In 1769 Captain James Cook was on a voyage around the Islands of New Zealand; when Captain Cook caught sight of the Kauri trees growing on Waiheke Island he wrote in his journal that they would make ideal masts for the warships of the Royal Navy. Man O' War is a collection of cliffs, hillsides and beaches on the Eastern coastline of Waiheke Island.

With lots of wine-making experience under his belt from working in the vineyards of Burgundy, California, Germany and more recently Waipara Valley, Duncan McTavish has created wines that are reflections of his personality and the land.

The fruit for this wine was all estate-grown, hand-harvested and delivered to the winery in impeccable condition. In the winery the fruit was subjected to rigorous sorting with the fruit sorted twice, before and after de-stemming. Depending on the vineyard or variety the berries were then either crushed and/or must pumped to the vat where they underwent a pre-ferment soak for four days. Each variety, vineyard and block, approximately 25 for this wine, were fermented as separate batches, many undergoing a wild fermentation while some were inoculated with selected yeast strains. The fermentation of whole berries in the ferment has promoted the fruitfulness of the vintage and the gentle extraction has resulted in a fine tannin structure. Made of the five traditional varieties of Bordeaux; Cabernet franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and for the first time there was an addition of Syrah to the blend, adding an element of peppery spice and vibrant acidity.

The 2011 Man O’ War Bordeaux blend exhibits ripe aromatic notes of dark berry fruits, cocoa and liquorice with complementary floral, spice and coffee characters. The palate is rich and supple with exuberant sweet fruit balanced with fresh natural acidity and fine grained tannins.