Maude Wines, Central Otago
A south Island New Zealand road trip, part 1

The first stop on any wine trip is always an important one. It sets the level; the benchmark. And Maude was the first stop on a road trip taking in many of the wine regions of the South Island that I embarked on with a friend in January 2016. I've visited most of these regions before, but I've never really driven around the South Island, so I thought that this time, it would be fun. It also made it possible to visit Waitaki - a small region that I'd heard of but never been to. So the plan was to start in Central Otago and end up in Marlborough, via Waitaki and North Canterbury (Waipara).


SK Dineen

I’d been to Maude before a couple of years back for lunch with a large group, and I’d made a note to come back. It seemed an interesting place, and the wines we’d tried were a bit different. I was also curious about the dudes behind the project, Sarah-Kate (SK) and Dan Dineen, who’d moved over here from winemaking jobs in Australia. So when I was thinking about this Central trip, they were on the list.

 

We’re in Wanaka. This subregion forms one end of Central Otago wine country, and there are two significant wineries here. The pioneer, Rippon, and Maude.

 

Mount Maude is the vineyard, which was originally planted by SK’s parents, Dawn and Terry Wilson, 22 years ago. It’s a terraced vineyard of 4 hectares that’s mainly planted to Pinot Noir, but there’s also Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay here. Right at the top there’s a more recent planting of 12 year old Dijon clone Pinot, while the older stuff is 10/5 which is what was available at the time. Lake Wanaka is at 300 m, while the vineyards here go from 340m to almost 400 m at the top.

 

For the Maude wines, SK and Dan source grapes from around Central Otago, and then the Mount Maude wines come from the home vineyard.

A new wine has been released this year. There’s a difference between Pinot from the East and West blocks and the main block. Normally, the East and West portions go into Maude, while the main block is so distinctive it is kept separate and goes into Mount Maude. In 2015 they tried something different with the East and West fruit: they put it into a fermenter, whole bunch, and stuck a lid on after adding a bucket of fermenting wine. They left it for three and a half weeks and then pressed it off. This is the Love Bug Pinot Noir, and it’s brilliant.

 

THE WINES 

Maude Sparkling Wine NV
This is a blend of 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2012. When the Dineens came back from Australia they started laying base wines down, and this is an equal parts blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. Fine and fresh, but also rich, dense and toasty with some pear and peach notes, as well as almond nuttiness. Lovely depth of flavour. 91/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard Dry Riesling 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
Delicate, pure citrus and pear notes with a bit of spice. Very fine and expressive with some talcum powder notes and lovely lemon fruit. Very fine and pure. 93/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard Dry Riesling 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
There are some lime oil notes here, and a bit of pithiness, with powerful lemon and lime fruit. Structured grapefruit pith notes too. Some toasty notes and a hint of marmalade. 92/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard East Block Riesling 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
2010 was the first separate bottling of the East Block. This 2015 is delicate, fine and expressive with tangerine notes. Beautiful with lovely finesse. Pure and linear with lime, lemon and ripe melon notes. Off dry and delicate. 94/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard East Block Riesling 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Very expressive with lovely linear lemon, tangerine and grapefruit notes. Lovely precision and purity with real finesse. Linear with nice melon notes. Delicate and off-dry with citrus peel aromatics. 94/100

Maude Mount Maude Chardonnay 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
Grapes from the main block and west block are processed separately for this wine. It’s foot stomped, basket pressed and put into puncheons for fermentation. There’s full malolactic and the wine doesn’t get sulphured until bottling. It’s fresh and shows lovely toast, pear fruit and a bit of white peach. Concentrated with real finesse, and lovely weight. 94/100

Maude Mount Maude Chardonnay 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand (cask sample)
Very fresh and linear with lemony fruit to the fore. Fine palate with white peach and some citrus notes. So expressive and fine. 92-94/100

Love Bug Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
So supple and expressive with fine red cherries and plums. Fine, lighter red in colour and very expressive. This is a supple, elegant Pinot of real appeal. 93/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
Normall this wine is at least 60% whole bunch in order to get some stalk tannins from ripe stems. This 2014 is 100% whole bunch. Rich and quite powerful with raspberry and black cherry fruit. Structured with a herby nose and nice direct spiciness. Has real interest: weighty, but not overdone with a savoury spiciness. Lovely. 92/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Floral red cherry and plum nose with some iodine and herb notes. Focused palate with a savoury twist to the plum and cherry fruit. Fresh with some spiciness, this is a focused with with structure and detail. 93/100

Maude Mount Maude Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Central Otago, New Zealand
Finely aromatic with lively cherry fruit. The palate is elegant and supple with real finesse: red cherries, spice and plums. Nice detail here: very fine and expressive. 94/100

Maude Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
Fresh, fine and expressive, showing bright juicy cherry fruit and a bit of raspberry bite. Very expressive with lovely purity. 93/100

See also:

CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR 2014
Central Otago masterclass
Burgundy masterclass
24 fine wines tasted at the Grand Dinner

VISITING CENTRAL OTAGO (2014)
Gibbston Valley
Chard Farm
Wooing Tree
Folding Hill
Mount Difficulty
Lowburn Ferry
Grasshopper Rock
Doctors Flat

Visiting Central Otago, New Zealand (2010) (series)
Visiting Martinborough, New Zealand (series)

Wines tasted 02/14  
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