Mountford Estate was established in 1991 by Buffy and Michael Eaton who chose the site for its elevation and active limestone soils.
Current Managing Director/Winemaker Takahiro Koyama, who was a Japanese student studying viticulture and oenology at Lincoln University first met Michael in 2004 at the International Pinot Noir Conference in Wellington. A glass of Mountford Chardonnay (at a Pinot conference!) offered by Michael prompted Takahiro to visit Michael and Buffy at the winery later on, searching for another glass of that elegant Chardonnay.
It was his lucky day. After enjoying a generous tasting and their warm hospitality, they offered him a part-time job to help them cover the vines with bird netting because of his “height”. CP Lin who had been head winemaker at Mountford since early days, and responsible for the Chardonnay which lured Takahiro, also kindly welcomed him to their small winemaking family.
Takahiro started working at Mountford and was assistant winemaker from 2007 to 2012. During this time he helped make the elegant Burgundy-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that Mountford Estate is known for, as well as an Alsace inspired field blend wine of co-planted varieties (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewürztraminer) from the steep limestone slopes that the winery nestles into.
After doing vintages at other wineries in Europe and America, Takahiro (to be more precise, his company) ended up purchasing Mountford Estate in 2017, coming back to the starting point of his winemaking career where he has a lot of fond memories. You might call it “closing the loop”.
MOUNTFORD ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2014
This Pinot noir comes from the oldest vines on the estate. Planted in 1991 on the Eastern slopes of Waipara Valley, the aged vines have truly tapped into the limestone deposits in the hills of Mountford. The 2014 Estate Pinot noir has a beautiful scarlet appearance and has aromas of plum, Cumin seeds and tulips. On the palate this wine has an abundance of red and black Currants with a salty minerality and very soft chalky tannins to finish.
MOUNTFORD ESTATE LIAISON PINOT NOIR 2014
This Pinot noir comes from the young vines on the estate. Clay, limestone and shingle soil gives earth, smoke, black doris plums with complex grainy tannins and great length. Aromas of leather, Indian spices and black cherry.
MOUNTFORD ESTATE THE RISE PINOT NOIR 2014
Savory dry earth and an expressive complexity greet the nose upon its first smell of this wine. the aromatics than evolve into violets, ripe dark cherry and medieval spice upon second approach and as the wine opens up and breathes. the palate is rich and earthy with distinctly dusty tannin’s. the tannin’s are firm but the wine remains vibrant and not too heavy resulting in a fresh finish.
OUR LAND & VINES
The vineyard is set in a park like environment on the North West face of the Waipara Valley’s eastern hills below the Teviotdale range. Dubbed the golden mile, as the aspect gains high amounts of light and heat. The soils, which are marl (active limestone), add a fine minerality t0 the finished wines.
Initially planted in 1991, and added to in 2000, 2008 and 2013, the total plantings now sit at 9.3 hectares of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Our vineyards are planted from spacious 2.7m x 1.2m through to high density 1.8m x 1m rows. Since the first plantings New Zealand viticulture equipment has adapted to enable higher density planting particularly beneficial to pinot noir and chardonnay.
The property sits at Latitude 43 with an Elevation 93m / 305ft above sea level (midpoint of the property). While high up on the limestone slopes with a stunning out look across the Waipara Valley we do not escape frosts. Each spring we take on Jack Frost and protect our vines. We find blowing warm air from an LPG burner (Lazo) behind the tractor does the job. We gain great satisfaction from the vines growing on through the season to produce beautiful fruit after the vigils held throughout Spring.
The low impact high attention to detail means that our spray regime is based on building the health of the vines with fermented fish fertilizers, and organic inputs. Our canopy management is vigorous with the aim of keeping the constant spring and summer growth open and light – letting the nor-westers and North Canterbury sun keep the vines disease free.