Tucked away high up on a North-facing hillside in the relatively tiny sub region of the Central Otago called Wanaka, Dr. Terry Wilson and Dawn found the perfect place to build their home surrounded by soil they hoped would also yield some great fruit. They consulted the exhaustive soil maps and settled on the 4 hectares now planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay over the shingle and clay seams below. On a slope ranging from 350m to 380m above sea level, its one of the highest elevation vineyards in the country.
How lucky that their great vineyard site would be brought to its full potential when their daughter Sarah-Kate grew up to be a wine maker and international wine judge in Hunter Valley, Australia. She then went on to marry Dan Dineen, another Australian winemaker responsible for making many of the wines of the '90's that saw Australia's recognition skyrocket. The couple returned to New Zealand and took over the winemaking that had been outsourced until that point. Results have been spectacular and some of their older vintages of Pinot Noir and Riesling prove that New Zealand wines can classically and deliciously age with proper cellaring. In addition to their estate vineyard aptly named "Mt.Maude", they have expanded to purchase fruit from around Central Otago and Marlborough to produce Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.
The standouts of their lineup:
2014 Mt Maude Vineyard, Dry Riesling, Wanaka, Central Otago
Meaty aromatics of lychee and citrus with lean slate. Palate is relatively fat with fine acids and minerality that builds and builds towards the finish.
2010 Mt Maude Vineyard, Dry Riesling, Wanaka, Central Otago
Reminding me of a Mosel Riesling with a few years in the bottle, the nose is full of mandarin marmalade spread liberally over toast. I want an air freshener that mimics this wine. The screaming acid of the new release has integrated nicely and the wine finishes much creamier despite the retention of the mineral character.
2010 East Block Mt Maude Vineyard, Riesling, Wanaka, Central Otago
Aged, German Riesling nose full of wet rocks and petrol. Savoury and opulent with a foundation of sweet lemons and keffir lime. The palate shows the 62g/L of residual sugar but remains balanced. Candied fruit leads into a tannic character on the finish.
2014 Pinot Gris, Central Otago
The best of their larger production varieties, this was one of the best of the Otago Pinot Gris I tasted. Austere and gorgeous, its aromatics are turned up to 11 without any alcohol burn. Palate is flinty and smoky and texture full, but a bit boozy on the finish.
2012 Mt Maude Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Wanaka, Central Otago
These vines are forced to struggle and the results are apparent. Lacking in the opulence of the lower elevation fruit of Central Otago, Maude's estate Pinot has gone unirrigated for 6 years. The wine is 60% whole bunch but shows only a touch of green on the finish. Soft with a grippy mineral character, it finishes warm.
2009 Mt Maude Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Wanaka, Central Otago
100% whole bunch, the time has been very kind. Fleshier, jammy fruit has transitioned into a new world example of Pinot with the large presence of its terroir. Earthy with violet and well integrated texture, it is reminiscent of a 5 year old Nuits-St-George. Best of the reds and testament to cellaring your wines.