The McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose is a non-vintage blend of 64% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 6% Merlot vineyards located in Hawke’s Bay growing region on the North Island in New Zealand. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay are iconic grapes used in Champagne wines, so the uncommon addition of Merlot is an interesting choice.
The South Island of New Zealand, especially Marlborough, is a high-volume wine region. The North Island and Hawke’s Bay is a more boutique area with family-owned wineries with smaller vineyard holdings. Hawke’s Bay is on the eastern south-central side of the Island. The grapes there will have different characteristics from the more well-known South Island wines.
One of the McBride Sisters’ wine’s best things isn’t the wine (though they are excellent). It is the sisters’ story and how they came to form the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States, but how the sisters came to meet.
Here is a link to their website, along with a CBS morning news segment that tells the story. They are half-sisters, same father different mothers. They were not aware that the other existed. One sister moved with her mother to New Zealand; the other lived with her mother in Monterey, California. Dad was not around much.
The New Zealand sister lost her mother to cancer at an early age and went into foster care. The California sister had a better time of it. The father, who was also battling cancer, told the other lost sister’s family, but he had no information on the location.
The family went about calling every Robin McBride they could find until somehow they found her in New Zealand. The next day she was on the plane to the US, and Andrea and Robin were united. The two sisters separately had been a part of the wine industry, one in New Zealand, the other in Monterey. In 2005 they started the McBride Sister Collection.
They also produce SHE CAN canned wines and the Black Girl Magic line of wine. They started the SHE CAN Professional Development Fund to help women also achieve their dreams. There are many interesting backstories in wine; it seems interesting people like to make wine. But the McBride Sisters story is a story of hope and determination.
The McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose is available in wine shops, but I found it at Trader Joe’s for $14.99. This Sparkling wine is produced with the Charmat Method, which is the same technique used to make Prosecco. The second fermentation, which is where the bubbles are formed, occurs in large pressurized vats.
It is the same principle as the autoclaves used to sterilize surgical equipment and tattoo needles, only on a much larger scale. The pressure helps the CO2 to incorporate into the wine in weeks or months. With Champagne, the 2nd fermentation lasts for 18 months and often longer.
The Charmat Method is Industrial Age technology, and the Champagne Method is Renaissance Age technology, though both have been updated over the years. The McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose should be interesting Bubbly; the grapes are carefully sourced from upscale vineyards, and the Charmat Method should give the wine a light, breezy nature. The alcohol content is 12.6%.
McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose Tasting Notes
The color is pale salmon pink, with a good supply of bubbles. The nose is delicate, with faint scents of vanilla ice cream, strawberry, a slap of grapefruit, and a floral edge. The McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose crisp and clean with well-balanced acidity.
This Bubbly tastes dried strawberry pieces, lemon/lime (not sweet), juicy peach, tart cranberry, a salty sensation, and a mix of lemon curd and Anjou Pear. All the flavors a light but distinct. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold but never bites.
- The McBride Sisters Hawke’s Bay Brut Rose is extremely tasty and refreshing Bubbly. It has me thinking about the coming warm weather.
- Rose’ Sparkling wines are weird. Red grapes such as Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier have always been used in Bubbly; they did not use skin contact with the crushed grapes.
- So Pink Bubbly can mean they allowed the Pinot Noir and/or Merlot grape skins to stay with the crushed grape juice for a time, or it could mean they added Red wine at the very end for color. I have never been able to detect any taste difference between the 2 techniques. So I can take my Red grape Bubbly clear or pink, it is all good with me.