Here’s mud in your eye! While there are several disputed origins of this toast, the most appropriate one attributes the phrase to farmers celebrating the success of a good harvest. But, perhaps an even more appropriate toast (and definitely more preferable when taken literally) might be, Here’s Mud House in your glass!
MJ Loza, General Manager New Zealand for Accolade Wines, visited New York City in early February to show off the latest vintages of Mud House and Waipara Hills. While Mud House and Waipara Hills aren’t new wineries, their recent acquisition by Accolade has given them the resources to increase production and provide nationwide distribution in the U.S. market. The two brands complement each other well, offering a range of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir to suit different style preferences and price points.
Mud House Wines was initially founded in 1992 by a British couple who fell in love with Marlborough after sailing around the world. They decided to make their home there, building one out of the local clay, which earned the moniker the Mud House by neighboring residents.
Newer to the New Zealand wine scene, Waipara Hills opened its doors in 2001, situated within its namesake Waipara Valley. Although less well known than Marlborough, Waipara is only a short distance south and shares a similar climate.
Tasting the Sauvignon Blanc wines side by side offered great insight into these three distinct styles. Despite being united by grape variety, they each revealed a different expression of the grape and the individual areas of Marlborough from which the grapes were sourced.
Reminding us to “Make hay while the sun shines,” the Hay Maker Sauvignon Blanc 2014 brings together grapes from all three regions and captured the essence of fresh tropical and citrus fruit. At $12.00 SRP, it goes down easy on the palate and the pocketbook and is refreshing as an aperitif as well as a partner to a meal.
The Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($17.00 SRP) was primarily sourced from the company’s Woolshed vineyard where there the soil possesses a higher gravel content. An excellent companion to our oysters, the wine displayed more grapefruit and grassy notes than the Hay Maker and was more restrained in its style.
The Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($19.00 SRP) was made with grapes from the lower valley and was the most herbal and acidic of the three. It also seemed to be slightly more serious in nature with its limited fruit profile, but was still very approachable.
Mud House also offers up New Zealand’s other star variety – Pinot Noir, hailing from two different terroirs. The Mud House Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013 ($17.00 SRP) is produced in a lighter style with fresh red cherry aromas and flavors and light tannins. Meanwhile, the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 ($20.00 SRP) is fuller in body with lush dark berries and slight earth on the nose and palate.
The relative simplicity of all of these wines provided a perfect juxtaposition to the complex Korean-Italian cuisine of Piora.