Ring in the new year!

Inspirational Malbec

Dr Rod Malbec - from TW Wines' Artist Series. The sketch on the label is the work of Geordie Witters's sister, Shelley Witters.

A nice surprise was waiting for me in The New Zealand Herald today, with an article on the “Meet the Makers” vineyard tour that served as a prelude to last year’s Wine & Food Festival in Gisborne.

Justine Tyerman describes meeting the colourful personalities behind the Spade Oak, TW and StoneBridge wine brands, as well as her first impressions of the “flavour explosion” that is TW‘s 2010 barrel-fermented “Dr Rod Malbec” – named in honour of my late husband, Rod Bonfiglioli (who was known to one and all in the wine trade as “Dr Rod”).

Paul Tietjen and Geordie Witters (the all-important “T” and “W”) wanted to pay tribute to Rod’s memory in recognition of his infectious enthusiasm for the variety – particularly for the selection from the Pedro Marchevsky vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina, which Rod imported as source material on behalf of Riversun Nursery.

Paul planted “Dr Rod Malbec” vines as soon as they became available. The 2010 wine is the first commercial offering in New Zealand showcasing the new selection.

Read the story here, while the link lasts.


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  1. Phil Reedman
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Have spent today at an Alternative varieties workshop in the Adelaide Hills. Malbec came up in discussion, as indeed did Dr Rod’s name, and it seems that Australia does not yet have any Argentine clones of Malbec cleared through quarantine. Some cuttings are currently in quarantine with another year to go before release. It will be fascinating to taste TW’s “Dr Rod” Malbec (the label has caught him rather nicely I feel) against, say, a Millton Vineyards Malbec.

  2. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Phil! The artist’s sketch (by Shelley Witters) was based on a photograph I took of Rod some years back – as you say, it captures him to a T.

  3. Murray Fletcher
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Tonight I have opened a bottle of red that I was given by Rod Bonfiglioli when he lived in the Adelaide Hills in the early 1980s. He had made it himself as an amateur winemaker although he had won awards for his home made wines. He suggested I cellar it for a time but I am sure he didn’t mean for 40 years or more. The wine was leaking in the cellar and was noticeably ullaged. However, it opened cleanly and first impression was the lack of any acetic or other off characters on the nose. The palate shows some ripe fruit in the middle and soft tannins, which were probably quite aggressive when the wine was young. What astounds me is the clean acidity around the edges which is lifting the palate and giving the wine a beautiful lift. Well done Rod! I remember staying in his little cottage in the Adelaide Hills – there was a curtain in the corner, behind which was a staircase to a bedroom upstairs where I stayed for a night or two. We were both working on Phylloxera at the time since I was with NSW Agriculture. If there is anybody out there receiving this who knew Rod, I enjoyed his company and enjoyed the work he was doing with Phylloxera genotypes but mostly his love of wine, something which I have shared for a long time and tonight I am thinking of him and the wine he created for me.