Wānaka Sun       

Maude Wines ‘Mohawk Hill’ pinot noir wins accolades

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 11 Jun, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

Sarah-Kate and Dan Dineen of Maude Wines were "absolutely delighted" when their 2017 Mohawk Hill pinot noir, which they had just released, received five out of five stars in a recent Cuisine magazine review. What's more the wine scored in the top three out of 155 pinots in the magazine's nation-wide tasting.

"Cuisine magazine is a go-to for many New Zealanders- its very popular," said Sarah-Kate. "It's an excellent competitive criterion you are judged against, and they have excellent judges.

"This wine is in a new range for us," she said. "Its in our 'single vineyard' range and they are all pinot noirs, and they are all vineyards that we have owned or leased. We decided in grape years to make a reserve [flagship wine] from each of those vineyards."

Mohawk Hill is a vineyard we have been involved with since it was started. It's in the Lowburn Inlet, she said.

The name Mohawk Hill came from the row of pines that grace a hill above Lake Dunstan- its always been known as this, named by the original people who came down here to build the Clyde Dam. Maude Wines have now registered the name.

"We have been taking grapes from this vineyard to make our pinot since 2011, and then we took the lease over about five years. So we have been working with the vineyard for 12 years," Sarah-Kate said.

When the couple took over the lease, they knew they wanted to make a wine from it, but it took a while to "figure out" where the best parcels of pinot came from and what their best aspect was.

"So we have nutted down on what to do with the Mohawk Creek, and this winner is one of the reserves from that vineyard,” she said.

Dan said Maude Wines pinot noirs come from the vineyard in Lowburn, two vineyards in Queensberry, and the original family vineyard in Maungarewa Valley, which is now 26 years old. These are where all the reserves come from, he said.

"Our main wines out of Central are pinot noir and pinot gris."

 This is not the first time Maude Wines has won accolades.

Our 2017 Maude pinot noir won best in New Zealand, the best Central Otago wine and then best overall wine at one of the country's top wine shows. Then later that year it became Wine of the Year at the most prestigious wine show in New Zealand. This happened two years ago, and that wine came from Mohawk Hill and our second vineyard, Poison Creek in Queensberry," said Sarah-Kate.

"Most of the vineyards in Central Otago are centred around Cromwell- in Wānaka, there is only a handful," said Dan. "But if we could plant more grapes here in Wānaka, we would, but the cost of land is prohibitive. The price is far too high to make vineyards sustainable. We get about 600mls of rain at Maungarewa versus about 300mls down in Bannockburn, which means we don't have to irrigate those vines. The vines reach maturity much earlier if they aren't reliant on irrigation.”

"We think 2020 is going to produce some exceptional wines because the crops were quite light," said Sarah-Kate. "What we took off the vineyards [during the lockdown harvesting restrictions] was a much smaller amount of super premium fruit, so hopefully we are going to see some great wines, and they will be something to remember."

Read edition 978 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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