This wine is produced by Man O'War
described by the Wine Advocate as "without a doubt one of New Zealand’s greatest wineries in the making
and one to watch." 2012 was the first ever vintage of Bellerophon. All Man O'War wines are named after battleships - "Christened in honour of the heroic demi-god astride an immortal winged horse, Bellerophon designates both the first ship of a new class of Dreadnoughts and the first blend of Syrah and Viognier from our volcanic hillside vineyards." The grapes for this wine come from three vineyards named North 3, Madman's and Lunatic on the stunning Waiheke Island.
With the exceptional but cool 2012 vintage, Man O'War decided to make the most of the pure and intensely flavoured fruit to create a wine in the style of the more feminine Northern Rhône wines from the Côte Rôtie, elegant, smooth and wonderfully perfumed
. 4% of white grape, Viognier, has been added to the Shiraz to aid colour extraction, soften the Shiraz and to add perfume and finesse. As in the Northern Rhône the Viognier grapes are added to the fermentation – a process known as co-fermentation - rather than the grapes being fermented separately and the wines blended later.
I was lucky enough to be poured a tasting sample of this wine in December 2014 when there was only one bottle in the UK and I knew immediately that we should include it in the Wines With Attitude
® portfolio. It has been worth the wait. It is beautifully perfumed
- aromas include raspberries, violets, white pepper and blackcurrants. It is equally complex on the palate - ripe black and red fruits with cream, pepper and hints of chocolate, smoked meat and liquorice. This wine is very well-balanced and the texture velvety
. Its deep colour belies its relative youth. It will keep and develop further for a number of years but it is drinking very well now, far too well! Absolutely fabulous!
This wine features on Nobu London's wine list
This wine would match well with game, venison, roast chicken, pork, beef, lamb and veal. It copes well with creamy dishes, the sweet fruit cutting through the cream, and fresh herb flavours.
Beware - there may be a little sediment in this wine so it may be best to decant it.
"2012 was a cool but excellent vintage resulting in wines of purity and intensity. In response to the vintage conditions, Bellerophon was conceptualised. Bellerophon is our first co-ferment offering in the classic mould of Cote-Rotie containing the Viognier grape.
Côte Rôtie is traditionally stereotyped as the most feminine of the appellations within the Northern Rhone. Containing 20% whole clusters and 4% Viognier, the overall Bellerophon blend is classically structured with the distinctive stem tannin giving a lifted freshness to the finish. Aromas of violets, raspberries and white pepper frame a wine that is incredibly approachable in its youth. Smoked meat and liquorice aromas will develop with time in the cellar."
94+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown Jan 2015
"The 2012 Bellerophon Syrah Viognier is a brand new wine from Man O War. A blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier, 20% of this wine was whole cluster fermented. Medium garnet colored, it offers lovely red fruit – cherries and currants – on the nose with fragrant hints of wild thyme, violets and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied with tons of flavor layers, it has a medium level of finely grained tannins and a lively acid line, finishing long and complex. Very Pinot-styled…this is a gorgeous wine!"
89 points Vinous May 16
"(vinified with 30% whole clusters): Medium-dark red, not 100% lucid. Some northern Rhône leathery/gamey funk to the aromas of black raspberry and flowers. Very concentrated and ripe but with surprising acidity to the dark berry and dark chocolate flavors. Less nuanced and a bit more loose-knit than the 2014 version but boasts very good concentration, considerable early appeal and an enticing balance of sweetness and acidity."