The wines of Staete Landt   
One of the most interesting producers in New Zealand's Marlborough region

Ruud Maasdam

Back in 1997 Dutch couple Ruud Maasdam and Dorien Vermaas purchased a 52 acre block of land in the Rapaura area of Marlborough, on part of the ‘golden triangle’ of the original Wairau river plain that was responsible for many of the exciting Sauvignons that brought fame to this region.

This region used to be a river delta, and the soils are complex, ranging from loamy clay, to pulverised shingle, slate and sand. Early on in the region row orientation was typically north south, which meant that within the row there was lots of variation. More commonly, now, people plant their vineyards east-west and work with more homogeneous soils in each block. ‘Now we’ve gone to homogeneous soil types we are losing the accidental complexity,’ says Maasdam, who I tasted these wines with.  

But for varieties other than Sauvignon, it helps to manage the vineyard in separate, more even blocks. On the basis of extensive soil surveys, Maasdam divided his prospective vineyard into 24 blocks before planting, each of which is managed differently. Indeed, as a condition of buying the property, which at the time was planted with fruit trees, Maasdam wanted to be able to dig pits, and he hired soil scientist Keith Vincent to survey the potential of the site as a vineyard.   

The Staete Landt wines all come from this single estate. Everything is hand-picked, which is unusual in Marlborough. Most of the focus is on Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, but Riesling (in both dry and ‘auslese’ forms), Syrah and Viognier are also made. All the wines show lovely focus and elegance, with Pinot Noir the stand out. 


Staete Landt Riesling Dry 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
Just 6 rows of Riesling in the vineyard, with 3 clones. Lovely bright expressive lemony fruit. Crisp, precise and dry. Good acidity. Stylish. 90/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Pinot Gris 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely texture: supple, grapey and with some spicy complexity. A textural wine of real interest. Balanced, dry and with some flavour. 90/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Annabel Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
25% barrel fermented. Sophisticated and textured with lovely fruit. Gently grassy but also with some richer white peach fruitiness. Sophisticated with no rough edges. 91/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Chardonnay 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely balance here: a bit of toasty richness but also nice bold texture. Very rounded, nutty and figgy with lots of flavour but also a lot of refinement. Serious effort. 92/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Viognier 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
Just 100 cases of this variety made: it was originally planted on the vineyard for co-fermenting with Syrah, but that never happened. Really nice varietal character: peach, pear, rich texture. Lovely concentrated fruit flavours. A beautifully expressive Viognier. 93/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Pinot Noir 2008 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely focused bright cherry fruits here. Lively and fresh with nice precision. Elegant with red cherry fruit and some structure. A serious effort. 93/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Syrah 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Really elegant and fresh with cherry and berry fruit as well as a hint of pepper and a bit of meatiness. Lively and elegant with lots of interest. 92/100 (05/11)

Staete Landt Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Lovely aromatics: nice passion fruit/tropical notes but also some herby freshnes. The palate is concentrated, fresh and precise with grass, grapefruit and pear notes. Good acidity and lovely focus. 91/100 (01/10)

Staete Landt Chardonnay 2008
Dense, richly fruited and focused with lovely toasty, mealy notes as well as rich fruit. Stylish stuff with lovely sophistication and good concentration. 91/100 (01/10)

Staete Landt Dry Riesling 2009
Lovely aromatics here: very fresh, focused lemony fruit. Lovely concentration on the palate with powerful lemony, herby fruit. Real presence and high acidity: almost austere. Lots of impact. 91/100 (01/10)

Staete Landt Pinot Gris 2009
Fresh, focused and nicely textured with a hint of herbiness and some grapey richness. Good acidity and nice purity. Stylish. 90/100 (01/10)

Staete Landt Pinot Noir 2008
Lovely elegant cherry fruit nose, showing bright, fresh aromatics. The palate has freshness and elegance to the bright cherry fruit. Stylish with nice purity. 92/100 (01/10)

Staete Landt Pinot Noir 2008
Very sweet, perfumed nose. Lush, sweetly elegant cherry fruit with a smooth texture and a spicy finish. Sweet and pure. 92/100 (02/10)

Staete Landt Pinot Noir 2005 (from magnum)
Very ripe year. Sweet with some earthy complexity developing alongside the bright fruit. Some savoury notes and good acidity. Very focused with a bit of evolution; a nice wine. 91/100 (02/10)

Staete Landt Pinot Noir 2004
Fresh and focused with nice bright herb and cherry fruit backed up by spice and minerals. Very fresh and showing some evolution. Good acidity. 92/100 (02/10)

See also:

Visiting Marlborough

Wines tasted as indicated  
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