The wine displays red and black cherry fruit, game, spice and a note of cedar on the nose, the palate is focused with polished tannins providing firm grip on the finish.
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Neudorf Vineyards is located in the Nelson region of New Zealand. Founded in 1978 by Judy and Tim Finn, they employ winemaker Todd Stevens, assistant winemaker Simon McGuire and viticulturalist Richard Flatman. The winery was built in 1980 and remodeled in 2004. The wines are made from fruit harvested from two Nelson subappellations, Moutere Hills and Brightwater. In Moutere, production from the family’s two estate vineyards – Neudorf Home Block (22 acres) and Hill Block (13 acres) – is supplemented with grapes from three parcels that are farmed by the family: Pomona (3 acres); Kina (2 acres) and Flaxmore (8 acres). Moutere is one of the sunniest appellations in the country and its soils are composed of welldraining clay with sandy loam top soils. Brightwater is south of Nelson and planted on the stony alluvial soils of the Waimea plains. Its terroir is particularly suited to growing Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Neudorf Vineyards is a founding member of the New Zealand Sustainable Viticulture. In 2010, they completed the conversion to organic farming of the Rosedale and Home Block Vineyard.
Hand-harvested Pinot Noir clones 10/5, 5, 777, 667, 115, 114, 113 from Neudorf Home Block, Kina Beach and Lord Rutherford Vineyard in Brightwater were destemmed and cold macerated prior to fermentation on their skins. The wine was punched down daily for 21 days and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels (25% new).
1978 and the New Zealand fine wine industry was almost non existent. We (Tim and I) pioneers-bigwere fresh from the “back to the land” movement of the late sixties. We wanted to make beautiful wine. We figured Tim’s masters in Animal Behaviour along with my unimpressive journalism career would be beneficial. Wrong. However we did have youth (temporary), self belief (unwarranted) and friends. At one stage we had four mortgages and three jobs each. The old house at Neudorf had electricity in two rooms, an outside long drop, an inefficient wood stove and no hot water. I look back with no regrets.
Because there was so little known about basic viticulture in New Zealand we planted many varieties to see which ones were best suited to our soils. Merlot came and went as did Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and the dreaded Muller Thurgau. We were a bit hasty in rejecting Gewurztraminer and may look at that again.
But we did it. We, and a whole heap of people – neighbours, family, friends and some fantastic staff. Each left a mark and many have gone onto work in bigger wineries or plant their own vineyard. Today 31 years later and we never feel we have it all sorted. But we love it and we are still learning, not just about viticulture and wine-making but exporting, currency exchange, the internet, human resource issues, distribution, yeasts and barrels, clones and crop levels.
Very few misgivings. Making wine is constantly scary and stimulating. We survive on hard work, high hopes and a dollop of common-sense and cunning.
So thank you everyone – wine drinkers and buyers, agents and sommeliers, staff and family. You help Neudorf survive and prosper.
And a special thanks to Rosie. Her good humour and affectionate nature helps a great deal !
So the future…Tim is a scientist by training and by nature..there will be more trials, more improvements in the field and better gear in the winery. We currently export to about 16 countries and that list continues to grow. And the challenge is still there – better and more beautiful wine year by year. When the world settles down Tim will take some time to master trout fishing , I will keep reading and painting and I hope our staff get a chance to relax a little.
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