Saturday, February 20, 2016


The highlight of day 2 was a visit to the beautiful Mt. Maude vineyard, tucked away in the Maungawera Valley outside of Wanaka, planted in 1994. Like so many in Central Otago, this is a beautiful vineyard, very steep and north facing. The combination of sunshine and higher altitude leads to a slow ripening process and long 'hang time'.

The 2014 Mt Maude Chardonnay is a surprising delight. Surprising, because Chardonnay does not feature  as much in Central Otago as it could. This wine features green apple and other stone fruit, as well as citrus. The palate has weight and richness also, probably because of the malolactic fermentation. The wine is in perfect balance (94 points).

The 2014 Maude Pinot Noir is made from fruit of two leased vineyards in the Greater Cromwell subregion and the home block. This is also quite a complex wine, with dark cherry fruit and savoury components of forest floor dominating. The structure is balanced and the overall mouthfeel elegant (93 points).

The 2014 Mt Maude Pinot Noir is a step up in intensity. This wine includes 100% whole bunch in the fermentation, which is made possible by the long ripening period, as the stalks lignify. This complex wine tastes of dark fruit, bramble and black cherry. It has a slight mineral character, but is a ripe wine all the same. What excited me most was the shape of the wine. Many such wines in Central Otago are round and fat in the mouth, whereas this wine is long, with elegant silky tannins on the finish (96 points).

I could taste the 2009 Mt Maude Pinot Noir by comparison to see the aging effect. This wine was similar in its profile to the 2014, maybe not quite as balanced. It was still lively and had developed beautiful savoury characteristics.

Maude is in the first tier of Central Otago wineries. If you don't know their wines, try and seek them out.

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