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Featured Reviews




Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ Marlborough Releases

14 November,2016
The concept of regionality has yet to be properly explored in New Zealand. While many growers, winemakers and consumers understand and accept the philosophies behind regional expression, there are only a few wine producers who demonstrate it. Ideally, this involves having the same varietal wine sourced from different sub-regions, but grown and made in very much identical ways. The strongest proponent of expressing regionality in my opinion is Grant Taylor of Valli Vineyards with his Otago Pinot Noirs.

However before one attempts this, the concept of differing regional expression must be promoted, by their identification. Several wine producers have done this, these generally being the larger companies with the resource of many vineyards located in many areas. Brancott Estate has attempted this with their ‘Terroir Series’, but this has been done with a broad range of varieties, rather than the same grape. Saint Clair is another proponent with their ‘Pioneer Block’ wines, but the vinification for each of these wines, though the same variety, can vary.

Joining this small group exploring regionality is Mud House with their ‘Sub Region Series’ wines, a collection of five different varieties and styles from different sub-regions, highlighting the strengths of the area as well as putting them on the sub-region map. The viticulturists and winemakers at Mud House have two decades of experience in Marlborough to identify the consistent expressions of fruit and wine from various sub regions. Here they identify and share their findings with the consumer, the range made by Mud House winemaker Cleighten Cornelius, the wines carrying the Mud House nomenclature for the sub regions.

The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc demonstrates "the overt lift and pungency, and phenolic textures” of Rapaura where bony braided river soils meet alluvial silts. The 2016 Pinot Gris comes from the Grovetown area, which is closer to the coast, but has warmer, finer and fertile soils, producing wine "with depth and texture, and bright fruit aromatics”. Fragrance and lightness is the character of the Pinot Noir fruit from the clay and silt soiled Burleigh district between Middle and New Renwick Roads. The clay-influenced soils of the Omaka region, where the 2015 Chardonnay comes from gives "delicacy, depth and poise”. The 2015 Pinot Noir comes from the region that Mud House calls ‘The Narrows’ in the Upper Wairau Valley where the riverstone and clay soils provide "elegant tannins and focused acidity”. My reviews of these wines follow. The wines seem to display the sub-region characteristics as described by winemaker Cleighten Cornelius. www.mudhouse.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ ‘Rapaura’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

17+/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh with gentle aromas of pungent passionfruit entwined with nuances of tropical fruit and fresh herbs, the aromatics building in depth and breadth in the glass, unveiling cut grass and mineral notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is mouthwatering and slippery with mouthwatering flavours of pungent passionfruit underlined by fresh, racy acidity lending energy and tension. The palate is elegantly proportioned and well-balanced, flowing along a soft-textured line, leading to a light, dry, passionfruity finish. This is a soft, slippery, mouthwatering, passionfruity Sauvignon Blanc with a smooth-flowing texture and energetic acidity. Match with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Fruit from ‘Rapaura’, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS. 3,375 cases made. 17.0+/20 Nov 2016 RRP $20.00

Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ ‘Grovetown’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5+/20
Full, even, straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues and a suggestion of blush, lighter on the rim. This has a fresh, full nose with soft and up-front, voluminous aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle notes of exotic florals and nuances of rose-petals, revealing stonefruit kernels and nutty elements at the core. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, this has a rounded heart with flavours of white and yellow stonefruits intermixed with subtle notes of florals and honeysuckle, along with nutty suggestions. The palate is smooth-textured and the mouthfeel is refreshing and crisp, with lacy, underlying acidity that leads to a dry, taut finish of stonefruits and florals. This is a rounded, dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit and floral flavours on a smooth, refreshing palate. Fruit from ‘Grovetown’, fermented in tank with 5% in seasoned French oak barriques to 13.5% alc. and 7.6 g/L RS, the wine aged on light lees. 1,350 cases made. 16.5+/20 Nov 2016 RRP $20.00

Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ ‘Burleigh’ Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2016

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

16+/20
Very pale candy-floss pink colour with delicate purple hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is gently fresh and full with light and delicate aromas of strawberries, cranberries and pomegranate, along with fragrant, light red florals, fresh herbs and mouthwatering mineral nuances Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate possesses light and subtle, straightforward flavours of strawberries with notes of pomegranates and red florals, and nuances of herbs and earthy elements. The mouthfeel is refreshing and zesty, carried by brisk acidity, and the wine follows a very fine line, leading to a dry, clean, delicately nuanced finish. This is a light and delicate, dryish rosé with flavours of strawberries and pomegranate and light, refreshing acidity. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit from ‘Burleigh’, given 2 hours skin contact and cool-fermented to 11.5% alc. and 8.4 g/L RS. 300 cases made. 16.0+/20 Nov 2016 RRP $20.00

Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ ‘Omaka’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5+/20
Bright, straw-yellow colour with slight geen hues, paler on the rim. The nose is tightly bound, steely and fresh with subtle stonefruit and citrus fruit aromas entwined with delicate creamy and nutty barrel-ferment notes, delicate lemon-curd MLF and mineral notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, this has a crisp and tightly concentrated palate of steely citrus fruit along with refreshing acidity an suggestions of creamy, nutty oak and hints of lemon-curd MLF. The acidity is bright and the wine flows a light-textured phenolic line that leads to a dry finish of citrus fruits and nuts. This is a tightly concentrated Chardonnay with refreshingly steely citrus fruit flavours, brisk acidity and a fine, dry-textured line. Match with seafood and creamy poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. Fruit from ‘Omaka’ fermented in tank and barrel to 13.0% alc., 30% of the wine the wine aged 4 months on lees in oak with some batonnage and 10-15% undergoing MLF. 584 cases made. 16.5+/20 Nov 2016 RRP $20.00

Mud House ‘Sub Region Series’ ‘The Narrows’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17+/20
Moderately dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose has a firm core of ripe dark-red berry fruit melded with subtle notes of dark herbs and fragrant violetty florals, unveiling earthy, minerally and liquorice elements. The aromatics grow in volume in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate us up-front with juicy and moderately rich flavours of dark-red berry fruits entwined with plums and liquorice. Dark herbs, floral and earthy elements emerge to add detail. The palate is softly-textured with supple tannins that providing gentle structure, and the mouthfeel has balanced underlying acidity. The fruit sweetness carries to a lively, dark-red fruited finish with liquorice and spices. This is a fresh, juicy, dark-red berry and plum fruited Pinot Noir on a supple textured palate with freshness and energy. Match with antipasto and tapas, and with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from ‘The Narrows’, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., 50% aged 10 months in 20% new oak. 1,350 cases made. 17.0+/20 Nov 2016 RRP $20.00
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