96 points Bob Campbell
"Richer, sweet, spicier and more perfumed than the Dreadnought. This softer and more charming and accessible wine shows the benefit of having been co-fermented with a small amount of Viognier. Raspberry, violets, chocolate, pepper, anise and spicy oak are some of the more obvious flavours in this complex wine."
96 points Sam Kim
"Inspired by the great Cote-Rotie wines of the Northern Rhone, this has an elegant touch of viognier (3%). Wonderfully perfumed and complex, the bouquet shows blackberry, spiced cherry, violet, dark chocolate and toasted almond characters, leading to a concentrated and beautifully textured palate that is delightfully expressed and irresistibly flavoured. Lush and sophisticated, and offers delectable fruit flavours with sensual mouthfeel and complexity."
94 points Decanter
"Syrah grapes for this beauty (the second vintage after the 2012) come from three volcanic hillside vineyards, co-fermented in the Côte-Rôtie style with 3% Viognier. About 30% of whole-bunch fruit was used, and the blend spent time in French oak barrels, 25% new. There's amazing floral lift and dense, primary red berry fruit perfume which leads to a long, sappy, savoury palate of darker berries, tight tannins and excellent freshness. Complex, concentrated and complete."
"97% Syrah, 3% Viognier. 30% whole bunch fermented.
Gorgeous perfume and stemmy notes with an opulent pepper and meat character. Completely seductive. Soft tannin. Great charred meatiness. Wonderful, a great example of the blend. 17.5/20 points. (RH)"
Vinous Reverie Notes
The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land rich in 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. It was along this coastline that Captain James Cook came to anchor during his first voyage around the islands of New Zealand in 1769. Upon sighting the ancient stands of magnificent Kauri trees ashore, Cook noted in his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War warships of the Royal Navy. Thus the name Man O’ War was bestowed upon this unique land.
The Syrah was co-fermented in the classic mould of Cote-Rotie with the white Viognier grape. To further develop the style approximately 30% of the wine was fermented with whole bunch clusters in the fermentation, this was either as 15% additions of the Viognier or anywhere between 10 to 100% whole cluster Syrah. Fermented with ‘wild’ yeasts and left in vat for an extended period prior to pressing, the various components underwent a natural malolactic in the Spring before blending and bottling. Tasting Notes: The Bellerophon is classically structured with an intensely fragrant nose of violets, raspberries and white pepper. Careful management of the stem and Viognier components has resulted in a palate that is soft and elegant exhibiting flavors of ripe red berries. All of which is encased by the distinctive stem tannins giving a lifted freshness and length to the finish. This wine is incredibly approachable in its youth but will age gracefully developing more savory earthy and smoked meat characters with time.