Kathryn, I presume?


Want to place me a tricky question? Then ask what I prefer the most; the wine or meeting the people behind! Complex in that sense I’m a people’s guy, loving to meet those who made it happen, the one’s I admire. Still, it is wine that fascinates me but let’s face it; without all the jigsaw puzzle-pieces you don’t get the whole picture.

Kathryn and Kees

When it comes to Mountford Vineyard I am close. First I fell in love with the wines, next I met with the wonderful people behind. Now I just miss one essential thing; a visit! I want to feel the Waipara earth, chew some grapes together with winemaker C.P. Lin, chase away birds from those precious (come on, we’re talking about New Zealand!) Pinot grapes, walk the Gradient, cook a meal for Kathryn and Kees and just enjoy the wines where they are supposed to taste at its best.

Guess it wasn’t such a tricky question after all when I think about it.

If the people aren’t there, it doesn’t really matter how good the wines might be. Ain’t it the same for you? Tasting wine with the producers brings that extra dimension to it and will affect our buying patterns for years. Tell me what you like the most, and keeps returning to, and I’ll say there’s likely a visit at the producer involved!

Meeting the enthusiastic owners Kathryn Ryan and Kees Zeestraten are essentially what made me look forward to last week. I’ve had long chats with Kathryn and after a while it feels I know her without having met. Entering the room, seeing her, it was just like meeting an old friend. Except for the continental kissing….I’m Swedish. We hug. It is the same at work when the Central Europeans visit, or I visit them; cheek kissing. I never remember which side to start. I almost kissed a colleague on the mouth once. I’m still embarrassed so let’s hug instead!

Kathryn is a great representative for New Zealand and Waipara especially. Her enthusiasm affects everyone in the room and while she’s tasting her wines she looks pleased and one can actually hear she is. Now, that’s what I want!

I got the chance to talk with Kees as well. He’s just as fascinating as Kathryn. Think about it; breaking up with your home country at 22 (The Netherlands) and move to the other side of the globe. That fascinates. And believe me, Kees has a lot to tell!

You know what; we had some wine as well.

Eight wines from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages. I’m not going to bore you with long tasting notes – just give you some indications on how high the general quality is at Mountford.

2008 Mountford Estate Chardonnay – Give me this blind and I’ll end up saying Chablis Grand Cru without hesitating! Lovely green apple acidity and lots of wet rocks feel. Where did those oak barrels go? Elegant taste with wonderful balancing acidity and plenty of cool fruit. (90-91 p)

2007 Mountford Estate Chardonnay – A total contrast to the ’08. Most present toasted oak backed up by pears, peaches and wet rocks. Now, I’m quite fond of this style and admit it appeals more to me than the younger version. More of a Cote d’Or style. Really good stuff. (90-91 p)

2009 Mountford Riche Riesling – Mosel meets Waipara! More pure fruit than a German but the acidity kick and floral notes are there. Low alcohol and a wine to drink when I miss the summer too much. Bottled sunshine simply! My wife would love me even more if i came home with a case of this one. (88-89 p)

2008 Mountford Liaison Pinot Noir – Red berries, malt, wet earth, leather and compost . Funky nose. Lingonberry acidity, quite elegant and Pinot’ish taste with some green notes, dark cherries, mineral and bitter ending. Great drinking now. (88-89 p)

2007 Mountford Liaison Pinot Noir – Classic stuff. I love the ’07 wines from Mountford and the Liaison is no exception. Leather, barnyard, strawberries, cherries and compost. Red berries, compost and leather in the taste. Sun-drenched fruit feel with good acidity grip. Needs time. (90-91 p)

2008 Mountford Estate Pinot Noir – Floral, humus and cherries in a youthful style. The oak is barely there but adds depth to a cooler vintage. I like the ’08 wines because of their early drinkability and they’re not as demanding as the previous year. A step up from the Liaison wines. (91-92 p)

2007 Mountford Estate Pinot Noir – I love this wine! Big nose with cherries, leather, sagebrush, humus, flowers, bouillon and gentle oak. Intense but staying elegant. Quite a mouth feel for a Pinot but that acidity, that fruit, that elegance…..(93-94 p)

2008 Mountford The Gradient Pinot Noir – Just as good as the ’07 Estate Pinot but more cool climate all over it. Burgundian elegance with strawberries, humus, compost and floral scents. Some dark chocolate from the oak, wild strawberries, cherries and lots of mineral feel. Pure fruit and an acidity to die for. A class act! (93-94 p)

Thank you Kathryn! Thank you Kees! See you in Waipara. I promise to cook if you pop a Hommage a’ l’Alsace!

The tasting was arranged by the Swedish importer, Ward Wines.

PS. Have you read my previous article on Mountford? If not, here it is!

PS Again. You can follow Mountford on their blog and on Twitter.PS Again and Again.Wondering about my points system? Me too! Actually, it is simple. Scores might take away the charm in wine if you only read those. Read the text! When you think you understand how my brain works you can try correlate with the grades. Since a grade looks so definitive I try to express a range instead where the bold marked is exactly where I stand when tasting the wine.