Mud House 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir

Mud House Crew Relaxing

[Updated February 1, 2017 to add the story of the winery’s unusual name.]

Artisan Wine Depot was offering a deal on Mud House 2014 Central Otago pinot noir at $16 per bottle. We bought four bottles on a whim. Subtle aromas of cherries with hints of leather and tobacco greet you. Be sure to swirl vigorously, as this wine is a little shy about exposing itself. On the palate, pure grape juice with bright acidity on the finish.

The Mud House founders were a courageous couple who set sail to travel the world, only to arrive in Marlborough and fall in love with the place. After preparing the land and planting vines, they used the local earth to build their home – a mud house. That home became the brand name.

Mud House is an interesting place. The name is literally part of the winery’s history.  Stephanie Hahn, their U.S. representative, filled us in.→

The “People” page focuses exclusively on those who grow the grapes and make the wine. Forthwith (click any image for a larger version):

Winemaker Cleighten Cornelius

Winemaker Cleighten Cornelius

Viticulturist Tracy Taylor

Viticulturist Tracy Taylor

Second, they operate three vineyards in Central Otago, Marlborough, and Waipara Valley. Each has its own vineyard manager. Central Otago is the source for pinot noir, Marlborough for chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer and pinot gris, and Waipara Valley for riesling. They source merlot grapes from vineyards in the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne regions of New Zealand’s North Island. And their website is among the most informative we have seen for technical details about each wine.

Tom Bullen manages Central Otago vineyard

Tom Bullen manages Central Otago vineyard

Jean-Luc Dufour Nev Gane Tom Bullen manages Waipara Valley vineyard

Jean-Luc Dufour Nev Gane Tom Bullen manages Waipara Valley vineyard

Nev Gane Tom Bullen manages Marlborough vineyard

Nev Gane Tom Bullen manages Marlborough vineyard

They also have half a dozen single-vineyard wines. They make pinot noir from the Claim 431 and Dambuster vineyards. Sauvignon blanc comes from Woolshed. Pinot gris uses grapes from the Home Block. Chardonnay comes from Hungry Hill. And Riesling grapes are from Hungry Hill. (I listed these because New Zealand vineyard names are, um, colorful.)

Emirates support

Finally, Mud House has been an official wine supplier for the Emirates – New Zealand team in the America’s Cup competition. What more could you want

About the author

Tony Lima has been a wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. His day job was Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. (He retired in 2016.) His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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