Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Zealand Pinot Flight – Maude of Central Otago, New Zealand, with Winemaker and Owner Dan Dineen

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Dan Dineen, Co-winemaker and Co-owner of Maude in New Zealand

Dan Dineen, co-winemaker and co-owner of Maude in New Zealand was in town and Michael Pearce, who owns and runs the Wine House in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, whose brother is a friend of Dan Dineen, took advantage of Dan’s visit and invited him over for a tasting at his Wine House in Fairfax.

The Wine House in Fairfax

The Wine House is a wine store and a wine bistro at the same time. It offers a bistro-style dining experience paired with a large selection of wines from all over the world. I find the atmosphere very appealing – relaxed, sophisticated, and modern. The wine selection is excellent. You buy by the glass or bottle. When you buy a bottle, Michael explained how it works: “Our wine list is our retail store. Simply pick a bottle off the wine rack at retail price and open it at your table for a $ 10 corking fee. For those of us that enjoy dining out, we know what great value it is to pay retail price versus restaurant mark-ups”. I like this concept very much.

Pictures: Michael Pearce, Owner of the Wine House, and Dan Dineen, Co-winemaker and Co-owner of Maude in New Zealand, at the Wine House in Fairfax, Virginia

Michael was born in New Zealand. His wine career launched itself 15 years ago in his hometown of Wanganui, New Zealand, where he opened a restaurant. This was followed by traveling the world onboard a cruise ship where he worked as a Sommelier, before meeting his Northern Virginia borne wife Jackie onboard. They relocated to New Zealand, where Michael worked at Craggy Range Winery in Hawke’s Bay. From there, they moved first to the West Coast and then to Fairfax, where they established the Wine House 7 years ago.

Maude Winery

Maude is a family-owned wine company, created by the winemaking couple Sarah-Kate and Dan Dineen. The family estate vineyard, Mt Maude, was planted in 1994 on the steep north facing slopes of the sheltered Maungawera Valley just outside of Wanaka, Central Otago.

Dan explained that since leaving their last roles as winemakers / general managers at the prestigious Tower Estate and Tempus Two wineries in the Hunter Valley in Australia, he and his wife have quietly built a winery, a new home, developed the Maude wine label and started a family amidst the stunning back drop of Lake Wanaka in Central Otago, New Zealand.

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, Dan Dineen and Christian G.E. Schiller

For more on Annette Schiller's upcoming wine tours to Bordeaux and Germany, see:
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013 
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

Part of the motivation to move to Central Otago – Dan said - was the eternal search for the holy grail of winemaking, Pinot Noir perfection, and to join forces with Sarah-Kate's vineyard owning parents, Dawn and Dr. Terry Wilson.

Pictures: Dan Explaining his Wines

Sarah-Kate and Dan’s ultimate goal is to make first class Pinot Noir. "It will take a lifetime to truly understand the variety and how it performs under different conditions but Sarah-Kate and I will have a lot of fun learning" Dan said. When Dan and Sarah-Kate married in January 2003 they were described as "the beginning of a new wine dynasty".


Nestled in the base of Mount Maude is a small Central Otago vineyard owned by Sarah-Kates' parents in the beautiful Maungawera Valley near Wanaka, New Zealand. The long dry autumn in Central Otago and the terroir of Mount Maude provide perfect ripening conditions for their grapes. Four hectares of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are currently in production.

Other sub-regions within Central Otago that Maude source their grapes from include Bannockburn, Bendigo, Gibbston and Lowburn.

The Maude Portfolio

Maude Pinot Noir
Maude Pinot Gris
Maude Sauvignon Blanc
Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard, Dry Riesling
Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard, East Block Riesling
Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard, Chardonnay

The Pinot Flight

Here is what we tasted.

2011 Maude Pinot Gris($19.99)

This Pinot Gris combines fruit from premium sites in Central Otago, including the family owned vineyard in Wanaka, Mt Maude.

A rich and vibrant Pinot Gris showing aromas of ripe stone fruits with hints of ginger. Poached pear and crème caramel flavors layer the palate which is rich and textured with a crisp dry finish

2009 Maude Pinot Noir ($31.99)

The 2009 Maude was sourced from 4 premium sub-regions of Central Otago.

Complex dark and brooding aromas of black fruits, dark chocolate and char with a touch of dried herb. A vibrant palate, tightly structured with flavours of dark fruits, thyme and mocha elements. A wine filled with power and promise.

2009 Mt. Maude Reserve Pinot Noir ($54.99)

A complex bouquet of dark cherries, ripe plum and the perfume of violets infused with nutmeg and cinnamon spice from seasoned oak. A full-bodied wine with densely packed textures and savoury herb and game flavours with dark berry fruits.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

The Roots of Oregon Winemaker Chris Berg, the Art of Paul Klee, the Wine House of Michael Pearce and the Nice Legs of Al McCosh

The Wine House Presented Winemaker Shane Finley from Russian River Valley in California at a Shane Wine Cellars Winemaker Dinner

New Zealand Wine El Dorado in London: The Providores and Tapa Room

Puligny Montrachet Winemaker Dinner with Sylvain Bzikot, Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils, at Jacques Imperato’s Mediterannee Restaurant in Northern Virginia, USA

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013 
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France


1 comment:

  1. Great write up Christian!

    Vintage has started here and the winery is in full swing. It was great to meet you while I was over in the States.

    Kind regards