Mount Edward, Gibbston
Mount Edward was founded by Central Otago industry legend Alan Brady in 1997, and Duncan Forsyth took over in 2004.
With both Duncan & Anna Riederer taking on the challenge on winemaking across Mount Edward's sites, the company is producing a wide range of unique wines, including both varieties & styles rarely seen elsewhere in New Zealand.
While Duncan & Anna where unavailable at the time to discuss the current matters of Mount Edward (we shall add their thoughts once they are available), I sat down with team member Kaylene Taylor for an exploratory tasting of Mount Edward's wines.
We were also joined for the tasting portion by the winery's delightful cat, Suzie.
Mount Edward has vineyards in a couple of different sites around Central Otago, which allows them to produce the range of style several of which Kaylene introduced to me.
We started off with the Riesling 2017 which comes from their Lowburn sub-region vineyard, and has a hue almost as clear as water with aromas of lime and freshly picked apple. The palate has high acidity that proved to be thoroughly thirst quenching on a hot Summer day in Central Otago.
Next up is one of the growing number of wines in New Zealand made from Austria's national grape: Grüner Veltliner.
The Grüner Veltliner 2016 provides very classic varietal characteristics of white pepper & bell peppers with asparagus undertones, while the body is medium weight and the classic phenolic bitterness that the grape variety is known for.
Finishing up the white wines that I tried is another grape variety growing in popularity, Pinot Blanc.
Well known throughout Central Europe, especially in France, Germany & Austria as well as Italy, the Pinot Blanc 2017 was grown on a small contract block within the Gibbston sub-region and exhibits a very subtle white flower aroma, with mandarin notes after a few minutes in the glass. Off-dry on the finish with an easy-drinking finish.
After the whites we have two styles involving skin-contact, with the Rosé 2016 up first and with an interesting somewhat orange hue, with aromas of orange peel, watermelon & honeydew melon too, very fresh & floral too.
The body was light to medium with flavours of kumquat and a fine line of acidity that draws you to a succulent, yet dry finish.
Second skin-contact wine was the "Clockwork" 2015, an 'orange wine' that is a blend of Pinot Gris & Riesling grapes that have been fermented while still in contact with their skins, allowing for tannins and phenolic characters to be extracted along with skin-pigmentation, resulting in a wine with a truly bright orange hue.
The aromatic profile is powerful with kumquat, rock melon & star anise lead into a palate that combines the phenolic bitterness common to the style with a subtle creaminess and flavours of baked apricot.
Finally we explored three different Pinot Noirs, as the variety currently takes up 70% of Mount Edward's vineyard plantings.
The Pinot Noir 2014 & 2015 are both from the combination of Mount Edward's Bannockburn & Lowburn vineyards with the elder of the two showcasing ripe fruit notes of cherry & cranberry with fine tannins, while the younger vintage is a little brighter red in it's hue, with a juicy, more tannic palate, while the aromas are bright and fresh red fruits.
For the final wine of the afternoon I tasted the 2011 "Muirkirk Vineyard" Pinot Noir, a single vineyard from Bannockburn's Felton Road that showcases the olive & thyme notes that show the sub-region's typicity, with a pale burgundy-red hue, and a significantly more earthy, saline flavour than the other Pinot Noir's we tried.
At 6 years of age, the Muirkirk is ageing gracefully and would do well for 3-6 more years without a problem.
Click here to learn more about Mount Edward