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Muddy Water clears out as one of the top NZ wines

Muddy Water clears out as one of the top NZ wines

One of country’s most promising young vineyards Muddy Water has one of their labels included among the best wines of the year in the 2003 Penguin New Zealand Wine Guide. The Muddy Water Waipara pinotage 2000 is listed as one of the best 13 wines of the year by the guide’s author Vic Williams.

Mr Williams is a cellar director for the New Zealand Wine Society. The guide features over 1200 New Zealand wines and will be available in bookshelves from next week.

Mr Williams said the Muddy Water pinotage was not easy to find but he said it deserved a wider audience.

``The Muddy Water team seem to have an affinity for the variety.’’

Muddy Water owner Jane East said the 2001 pinotage was not released because the alcohol level was too high. ``Our policy is only to release wines of the right quality. This can be financially hurtful but we hope it will produce downstream long term benefits.’’

Mrs East the 2002 pinotage vintage was in barrels and would be released for sale later this year. Muddy Water vineyards are situated on sunny slopes above the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury.

The vineyard was brought by Michael and Jane East in 1993. The first wines were produced in 1997. The vineyard name comes from the Maori translation of Waipara (Wai – water, para – sediment, mud).

Their winemaker is Belinda Gould and the vineyard manager is Gwyn Williams.

``All our fruit is hand-picked from our own vineyards and travels no more than 500m to the winery for processing,’’ Mrs East said.

In April last year Muddy Water joined the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative and bottled most of their 2001 vintage using screwcap seals.

``This has been the biggest single quality step we have ever made at Muddy Water,’’ Mrs East said.

Industry figures show the number of New Zealand wineries has doubled since 1995. The area under grapes is expected to rise to more than 20,000ha by 2006.

The 2003 Penguin NZ Wine Guide’s top 13 wines are:

Ngatarawa Alwyn reserve charonnday 2000, Millton Gisborne chenin blanc Te Arai Vineyard 2000, Te Whare Ra Duke of Marlborough gerwurtraminer 2001, Herzog Marlborough pinot gris 2001, Felton Road dry riesling 2002, Craggy Range Old Renwick Vineyard sauvignon blanc 2002, Vidal Estate Reserve merlot / cabernet sauvignon 2000, Villa Maria reserve Marlborough pinot noir 2001, Muddy Water Waipara pinotage 2000, Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2001, Deutz Marlborough cuvee blanc de blancs, Unison rose 2002, Palliser Estate Martinborough noble chardonnay 2000.

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