Stuart McCloskey "Muddy Water Pinot Noirs truly reflect their philosophy, more so than any other New Zealand Pinot Noir (with the exception of Devotus) I have encountered. Burgundian to the very core but by no means trying to copy. Evolution has been kind to all three. Perfectly judged, uniquely captivating, full of detail, effortless, precise and everything a Grand Cru should be. Unquestionably, three Pinot Noirs which stop you in your tracks. Simply stunning by any measure and not one wine dipped below 97+ / 98 points. All served using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Decant for 30 minutes."
The Hare’s Breath block is Muddy Water’s hillside plot that consists of seven different Burgundy clones, one of which was allegedly smuggled out of the Domaine Romanee Contee vineyard in the 1970’s tucked into a rugby players boot. Each clone adds its own distinct element to craft wines of great complexity, structure and intensity. The vines are planted at high density creating competition between the vines for water and nutrients which ultimately leads to lower yields of incredibly concentrated fruit, each vine creating only enough fruit for just a single bottle of wine. The name Hare’s Breath was given to it after staff at the winery caught glimpses of a wild Hare living amongst the vines, noticing its puffs of breath on cold winter mornings.
Wines from the Hare’s Breath vineyard are dark and dense, highly aromatic with herbal notes, intense fruit and spice. They are long lived and well structured but can be enjoyed in their youth. We would recommend decanting for an hour or two to really open up this wine’s complexity.
Planting density: 5000vines/ha
Row spacing: 2m
Vine spacing: 1m
Avg yield: 1kg/vine (1 bottle from each vine)
Jane and Michael east were one of the first to recognise the potential in the Waipara Valley for growing high quality grapes and planted their first vineyard in 1993. Originally planting several varieties to see what worked, they took the approach that if it didn’t thrive, it was pulled up and what was left was meticulously nurtured to produce the highest quality fruit. The vines are un-grafted and planted on their own roots which is a very rare thing to see and much of their wine today is still produced from those original wines.
In 2011 Jane and Michael retired, handing over the reigns to the Thomas Family who have uncompromisingly stuck to the original philosophy set out by Jane and Michael of minimal intervention, crafting wines that are individual expressions of the site and vintage. The entire estate still only covers 12 hectares made up of 6 individual blocks, interspersed with olive groves and a natural spring that are tended using fully organic practices, the winery being the first in Canterbury to become certified organic.
The name Muddy Water is the literal translation of Waipara, and their ethos is to allow the wines to reflect this unique terroir. The soils are limestone washed, similar to those found in Burgundy and ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and the vineyards consist of flatter ground leading to north facing slopes, with warm summers, cool evening and long autumns allowing the grapes to fully ripen developing great levels of complexity. The winery was hand built using straw bales and lies just a few hundred metres from the vines. They don’t manipulate the wines in any way, use pesticides or herbicides, everything is done with a hands on approach, walking through the vineyards allowing them to be completely in tune with the soils, the vines and the grapes. Wild yeast found occurring natural in the vineyards are used for fermentation and the wine are bottled unfined and unfiltered to allow the unadulterated expression of the grapes and terroir to shine through.
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