New Era for Mountford

August 7th 2013

Mountford, one of the top dozenish pinot noir producers in New Zealand, has been left winemaker-less.

The Waipara winery’s Taiwanese-born blind winemaker C.P.Lin (and his labrador Winston), who has been at the estate since 1997 has left amid curious circumstances. Most of the wine world learned the news on twitter, as did his employers, they say.

“This has been terrible news and we are very sad to hear that CP has announced this in such a way, he has not personally informed us of his decision, we have heard somewhat like you,” said owner Kathryn Ryan in an email.

A source that wished to remain unnamed claimed that Lin was unhappy with the direction of the business. said that Lin had criticized the owners for “focusing 100% on profit’ to the detriment of wine quality, which Ryan rejects.

“In regards to a plan, it remains the same – our focus is on making premiums wines from our vineyards – which continue to be well managed.  As to another consulting winemaker – we will address this on our return.” The estate is also without an assistant winemaker with the position advertised on the site winejobsonline. Applications close on August 9.

Lin was first offered the job after telling the Waipara estate’s founders their wines were “crap”. Since then, its single vineyard pinots have become highly regarded, as per my tasting in Waipara in December 2012.

2009 Mountford The Rise
Perfumed: plum, violets and red cherry with a hint of VA –  in a good way.  Shows good mid palate weight and a very fine line of acidity. Taut mineral finish – could it be the limestone in the soils?  18/20

2009 Mountford The Gradient
Very pure fruit. Very interesting nose: lots of complex characters from plum, smoke and herbal notes. Complexity follows in the mouth, silky texture, high level of concentration, oak well integrated. Long length. Has potential for the longer term (Unfined and unfiltered.) 17.5 +/20

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