12 December 2012

Mud House Wines

Mud House Wines was founded in 1996 and operates two wineries on the South Island of New Zealand, one based in Marlborough on the extreme northeast, and one in the coastal Waipara Valley just south of Marlborough. Additional, Pinot Noir is sourced from the cool southern region of Central Otago, the southernmost wine region in the world. At 45° south latitude, it's at the antipodal level of Bordeaux. Sure, Pinot Noir would probably grow a little better at 47° (on the level of Burgundy), but that would require planting on tiny Stewart Island, home to only 400 people.

I've written about this before, but that wine belt that passes through the wine regions of France, Germany, New York, and the Pacific Northwest is pretty tiny in the Southern hemisphere. You go through the tapered end of South America in the valleys of Chile and Argentina, barely scrape the southern tip of South Africa, and catch the south coast of Australia. Go any farther north and it's too hot and wet. Go any farther south and you're just in the cold ocean between civilization and Antarctica. Soil and modern viticulture can allow you to grow wine grapes practically anywhere, but making really decent wine requires specific amounts of sunlight defined by the latitude as well as the effects of ocean currents, two things that farmers can't control.

I'll update this later if I get the US prices, but for now everything is listed in New Zealand Dollars.

2009 Mud House Riesling
Waipara
NZ$19, 13% abv.
I haven't tried a lot of New Zealnd Rieslings, but this one was wonderful. Honey and green pepper aromas, an alluring combination. Dry and tart with a crisp lemon finish. Light and refreshing, and overall a very sunny wine. Highly recommended for next spring.

2011 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough
NZ$19, 13% abv.
Julia asked me, "What's that aroma?" Not in a bad way, but she didn't recognize the scent. "Gooseberries," I replied. "Lots and lots of gooseberries." There's that unique citrus-like smell combined with grass and hay and some darker notes. Really complex and interesting to sip on, as it had been quite a while since I'd had a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc like this.

2010 Mud House Pinot Noir
Central Otago
NZ$24, 13.5% abv.
A clean and smooth Pinot Noir with a dominant ripe strawberry character. Mild body with just a little tartness. This is a great roast chicken wine, and I'd suggest a lot of rosemary in the bird and the fingerling potatoes that you should pan fry along with it.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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