November 15, 2019|In Travel, Events

Mountford Estate Trade Lunch

Wines lined up on table

Around 40 minutes north of Christchurch, you’ll find Waipara – one of New Zealand’s fastest growing wine regions. Dry and sunny, it is considered to be a very unique region, and it’s reputation – particularly for Pinot Noir and aromatic whites – is simply glowing. Mountford Estate is a big name in the region, known both for its wonderful wines as well as their stunning estate. 

This extraordinary estate was brought back from crisis a few years ago when Takahiro Koyama of Koyama Wines bought it. He had cut his teeth making wine here many years prior, under the wing of esteemed winemaker CP Lin, and had many fond memories of it. It had fallen on hard times after CP left and the global financial crisis hit hard. Now, Takahiro and his wife Fumiko have returned the estate to its former glory. Together with Theo Coles and Matt Barbour on the winemaking team, they are an indomitable force in New Zealand wine.

Read more on the new dawn of Mountford Estate and its wonderful vineyards here.

Last week, Dhall & Nash sent one of our Wellington account managers to visit this fantastic estate with a few select customers from the hospitality industry. Read an account of his fantastic afternoon below;

Francis' Story

“It all started around 10:30 on a rainy morning. We gathered as a group while waiting for our driver to take us on a wonderful ride to Mountford Estate.

The journey definitely began well – just a taste of what was to come. Upon approaching the vineyard we travelled up a gravelly road, from which we could admire the vines that bring us Mountford’s ‘Liaison’ wines, and the grand estate in the background. We were welcomed by Matt Barbour & Takahiro Koyama when we got off the bus – friendly handshakes greeted us and we were all sharing excited smiles.

We all proceeded to step down and enter a bright tasting room – a hint of where we would enjoy our lunch. Matt poured some delicious 2018 Rosé to welcome us and we took our glasses outside where we could find the winemaking and barrel room, with some commentary on the winemaking processes and vineyard blocks from Matt.

There was some quality entertainment in the form of Ellie the dog – the nice estate Labrador – who was playing and trying to get attention from the whole group. He wanted all the attention on him (lol).

Afterwards we moved outside to admire the hill where the grapes of the cuvée Hommage is produced. A great blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat. In this cold weather, only a few minutes was sufficient and it quickly convinced us to move back to point A where we convened in the main room with the magnificent long wooden table – such a lovely convivial ambiance.

Introductions were made and everyone got comfortable, chatting and getting a better understanding of everyone’s backgrounds and current position within the hospitality trade. Fumiko – Takahiro’s wonderful wife – then graciously intervened to explain the meal we were being served, just to give us something to salivate about.

The show was definitely getting started. One after the other we had the opportunity to go through a wonderful gastronomic journey via the home cooking of Fumiko and Takahiro. Great share platters were enjoyed, complete with cheeses, cold cuts, bread and butter. Afterwards we got pumpkin soup and a green bean salad with mustard vinaigrette. Pressed salmon sashimi followed this, prepared by Takahiro with his super-sharp Japanese sashimi knife. The main was a braised pork belly; so yummy.

The conversations were flowing from topic to topic, about wine, food, industry and stories. This was when we got started on the Pinot Noir lineup and ’WOW’ was heard from many around the table. Simply divine, it’s hard to not love the Old Vine Pinot Noir, the Rise and the Gradient – the estate’s top bottlings.

Our last drop was the 2011 Pinot Gris served with ice cream and fresh berries. Happy tummies and satisfied guests.

Time flew very fast and it was already time to leave. Matt & Takahiro surprised us all by presenting each person with a gift before we jumped back into the minibus. A great gesture, the cherry on top of a day that will live on in my memories.”