A Wine Society exclusive, Mount Koinga from the fantastic Pisa district in Central Otago is a wine of which we are particularly proud.
Mount Koinga is actually the name of the vineyard rather than a winery: it was Prophet's Rock winemaker Paul Pujol who first discovered the special quality of the vineyard and contacted us to see whether we'd like him to produce a wine. The vineyard has a high reputation not just with The Society: many prestigious New Zealand producers also source grapes from here.
Planted in 2002, the vines are remarkably young, and the pinot noir plantings don't even cover two hectares, but for Paul that's what makes them so exciting. When he discovered such a tiny site producing wines with exceptional regional character, he was eager to produce a wine that would, essentially, document this unique vineyard's evolution over time.
Paul has considerable experience making wine throughout some of the finest pinot noir sites on the planet. He began at Seresin in Marlborough, where he tended specific blocks of vines in the vineyard and then followed them into the winery so he could learn how the grapes evolve from the land to the finished wine at every stage of their journey.
In 2000, he embarked on a crazy mission to try and complete five harvests around the world, doing regular 18-hour days and moving from Central Otago to Languedoc-Roussillon, Sancerre, and then Kuentz Bas in Alsace. His fifth planned harvest - in Hunter Valley, Australia - was cancelled, but with good reason: Kuentz Bas offered him the position of head winemaker, making him the first foreign winemaker to take on the role in their 200-year history.
After completing further stints in Burgundy and Lemelson in Oregon, he returned to Central Otago in 2005. The Society has been working with him for some time to try and find an outstanding single vineyard from which we could make a top-quality wine at a fair price for members, and Mount Koinga has proven to be ideal for the role.
Paul uses his diverse talents not only in the winery but also to advise the vineyard owners when to harvest our grapes - his craftsmanship is vital, and we thoroughly enjoy working with him.