About this WINE
Created by Michael and Buffy Eaton in 1991, Mountford is currently a small hillside vineyard with three hectares of Pinot Noir and two hectares of Chardonnay producing about 2,000 cases on gently sloping land outside the door of its stylish homestead.
The vineyards are tucked into the limestone-rich, Waipara Hills, one ridge removed from the broad, sweeping bay that stretches north from Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island. The first vines were planted in 1991 using medium-density plantings.
The first wines were made in 1995, and 1998 saw the completion of the winery and the first bottling of Mountford wine on the property. C.P. Lin, Mountford's blind winemaker, who has made the last three vintages, introduced himself to his future employer in 1996 by tasting Mountford's first vintages and telling owner Michael Eaton, "These wines are crap." Eaton promptly gave Lin the challenge of making them better. C.P's. love of food and wine comes through in the wine produced here from grapes under the meticulous care of Mountford's Viticulturist, Gerald Atkinson. "We can make Pinot Noir with ripe flavors, rich texture and the right balance," Lin says.
2007 saw the property being sold to a Dutch couple Kess Zeestraten and Katryn Rayn, who have confirmed their intention to build on the Eaton legacy, adding a further 4 ha (of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and even some Riesling) to the 6ha in place and encouraging C.P.Lin to take Mountford to even greater heights!
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.