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The flagship wine of Neudorf and from a superb vintage in New Zealand, this is a remarkable chardonnay of great finesse with fleshy white fruit and oyster-shell aromas. The palate offers wonderful concentration, but all the while remains delicate, complex and captivating. Low stock: limited to six bottles per member.
Product Code: NZ12241
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Tim and Judy Finn planted their first vines in 1978 on slopes overlooking the Moutere Valley at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. They called their fledgling business Neudorf after the name of a tiny nearby hamlet established by German settlers in 1842. Judy freely admits that what the couple lacked in expertise or knowledge at the time they made up for with “youth, self-belief and friends.” Initially the Finns had to plant many grape varieties to see which were best suited to the soils on their land, as so little was known about viticulture at the time in New Zealand. However it was not long before Neudorf started to earn a high reputation for concentrated, minerally Moutere chardonnay with complex fruit characters. Other grape varieties are now grown with great success here including rich and herbal sauvignon blanc; pure, limey riesling, aromatic and full-bodied pinot gris and dense, complex pinot noir. In the vineyards a combination of high plant density and low production gives the fruit concentration and palate length for which Neudorf wines have become known. Some wines are completely sourced from local Moutere-grown fruit whilst some other examples come from further afield in Nelson. True to the ‘back to the land’ movement of the 1960s which sparked their interest in owning vines in the first place, the Finns were notable founder members of the New Zealand Sustainable Viticulture Group. Environmentally friendly practices at Neudorf include replenishing organic soil matter, sustaining micro-organisms and composting all winery wastes. Tim and Judy firmly believe in a natural approach without undue intervention stating. “We admire wines that have poise and finesse, wines that speak more of place than of winemaker.” Although the Finns have come a long way since their early days they are quick to admit that “…making wine is constantly scary and stimulating. We survive on hard work, high hopes and a dollop of common-sense and cunning.” As keen Wine Society supporters they are always happy to welcome members to their Cellar Door which is open throughout the year. They also sell Neudorf sheep and cows cheese and, although there is no on-site restaurant, the gardens make a lovely spot for a picnic.
Still a baby when compared with other regions, New Zealand has quickly earned a reputation for top-quality wine. New Zealand might be a relative newcomer to the wine world (in 1960, the country had fewer than 400 hectares of vine) but its rise to pre-eminence is extraordinary. The precise, pure flavour of its wines has captured the attention of wine drinkers; Society sales certainly reflect this.The country’s two islands cover a vast area from north to south (it is often quoted in wine books that if New Zealand was in the northern hemisphere, the country would stretch from North Africa to Paris). The maritime climate is influenced by the strong prevailing winds of the Pacific Ocean and the striking mountainous terrain. These factors give the islands a wide range of growing conditions; broadly speaking, the regions of the North Island tend to be warmer than the cooler South Island.The cool New Zealand climate offers real opportunity for aromatic varieties like sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer . Of the latter three, young plantings mean many styles rely more on sugar than fruit, which we avoid buying. But the very best share the intensity and palate weight of great Alsace examples with vibrant, lifted flavours. South Island’s Marlborough region is the benchmark setter for the former, and there are many pungently aromatic sauvignons that are stunning. Look out, too, for some of the exciting sub-regional wines – the Awatere is Marlborough’s coolest valley, now making really attractive, delicate and grassy wines, and Nelson across the hills is yielding superb wines from quality conscious producers like Neudorf. The first sauvignon blanc vines were planted in Marlborough around 30 years ago, when most farmers were raising cattle or growing fruit. The wines have since taken the world by storm. Farms have been replaced by vineyards, and today, chardonnay and pinot also flourish in Marlborough’s cool climate. The choice is sensational, so is the consistency in quality. However, Marlborough is not only about sauvignon blanc and there are crisp, juicy chardonnays and ripe but balanced pinot noirs of excellence.Further south is Central Otago, in the centre of the island. Pinot noir is something of a speciality here, though on the wrong site it can have difficulty reaching full maturity in this continental climate. The best seasons produce the country’s most dazzling examples of the grape, full-flavoured and superbly pure, and the greatest wines of this scenic region are in high demand around the worldThe north island also boasts excellent wine regions. North of the city of Auckland there is the Bay of Islands where a unique microclimate helps winemakers produce some wonderful reds, and the Brajkovich family’s Kumeu River Estate, specialising in rich but elegant chardonnay, can be found just north-west of New Zealand's biggest city. Waiheke Island, just off the coast close to Auckland, also produces some excellent wines.Hawkes Bay on the east coast of the North Island covers an extensive area of rolling hills, a sweep of coastline and the sharply dominant Te Mata Peak. The warm climate successfully ripens red grape varieties, the very best grown in the gravelly alluvial soils of the Gimblett Gravels appellation. Syrah is now adding its name to the roll call of successful varieties like cabernet and merlot. Chardonnay is well established here too, and the area makes some of New Zealand’s fullest and ripest examples.Close to Wellington at the southern tip of the North Island is Martinborough, arguably New Zealand’s most exciting area for pinot noir. The long growing season is particularly suitable to the slow, gradual ripening that this Burgundian grape so enjoys.
After a few tricky vintages, 2019 is a wonderful return to outright excellent quality. Marlborough in particular has seen exceptional, healthy fruit and although yields are down, the wines produced are superb on the whole. The vintage marks a return to ripe, precise and well-balanced New Zealand sauvignon, which demonstrates all of the deliciousness that has caused this combination of grape and place to become so popular around the world. Pinot noir and chardonnay have done extremely well too, and are particularly worth looking out for.
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