Jamie Drummond on Food and Wine #35 Ruud Maasdam

This week Good Food Revolution accosts New Zealand Winemaker Ruud Maasdam of Staete Landt at the Pinot Noir conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

2007 Staete Landt “Dry” Riesling Marlborough
Lime, minerals and citrus. Bone dry… actually, can you get drier than that? Because this was. Piercing acidity. Fresh and snappy… although strangely enough this actually sees some (old) oak and a little malolactic. Not my favourite style of Riesling.

2008 Staete Landt Riesling Marlborough
Showing amazing equilibrium considering how lovely and ripe the Riesling fruit is. I always enjoy this style of Riesling and could easily drink a bottle… or two. Versatile as one would imagine for a balanced wine with around 8g of residual sugar. Good.

2009 Staete Landt “Dry” Riesling Marlborough
Tropical aromatics with some pleasing citrus. Lots of crushed stone minerality on the palate. Crisp and lively with a persistant follow through. Needs some time methinks.

2009 Staete Landt Pinot Gris Marlborough
Quite complex. Spicy tropical fruit on the nose with a great leesy element. Great full-bodied creamy mouthfeel that I think this varietal requires. We are getting into some delicious Alsatian territory here. A damn good example of Pinot Gris that would put many others to shame.

2008 Staete Landt Chardonnay Marlborough
Pleasing ripe peachy cheeks with hazelnut, spice nougat leanings. Lees contact becomes apparent on palate. A fruit-driven wine that will evolve over time. Oak is there but so well integrated that one doesn’t make note of it until it comes to tasting notes. Judiciously done.

2009 Staete Landt Viognier Marlborough
Some careful winemaking on this bottling as it’s so easy to make a complete dog’s breakfast (eggs) of this varietal. I’d love to name the guilty parties here but I’ll hold my tongue. This beauty exhibits the classic apricot/peach that Viognier is so well known for… but add to this a delightful floral element that is only found in the best of the Northern Rhone’s Condrieu. But whilst Condrieu often underdelivers on the palate, this bottling has a superb mouthfeel and shows an acid/fruit balance that many a Viognier sorely lacks. I’m not going to tell you the alcohol on this one as quite frankly it is intimidating and may put you scaredy cats off… but this wine can carry it with aplomb. The absolute dog’s bollocks when it comes to New World Viognier.

2008 Staete Landt Pinot Noir Marlborough
I have a bottle of this in my suitcase for my girlfriend to try as SOON as I get home as it is very much her style of Pinot. Alongside some lovely ripe strawberry and bright red cherry fruit there is a great spice and juniper berry thread of aromatics that makes this wine most seductive. Oh… and then there is an enticing savoury nuance that lifts this wine above many of the other Marlborough Pinots I have tasted on this trip and over the years. Bloody good stuff. Cannot wait to get home and open this. Break out the good Burgundy glasses my Dear. I should be back around midnight!

2008 Staete Landt Syrah Marlborough
While most folks minds turn to Hawkes Bay when it comes to New Zealand Syrah, this wine from Malborough really stands out. White pepper, spices and smoked meat dominate the nose. The tannins are incredibly grippy and give the wine a superb sense of structure. High acid but with a delightful balance.

2009 Staete Landt Riesling Auslese Marlborough
Made with a “kamikaze yeast” that dies when the alcohol reaches this wines 8.5% alcohol, this wine carries its 67g of residual sugar with acidic grace. Guava and tropical fruits.

2008 Mapmaker Chardonnay “Pure” Marlborough
Made with just a touch of oak influence but with no malolactic fermenation, this bottling exhibits many characteristics of a good (albeit non-traditional) Chablis: Minerality overflows on both nose and palate. A very focused wine that seriously screams for food.

2008 Mapmaker Pinot Noir Central Otago
Utilising fruit from a friend in the South Island, this is something quite different the Staete Landt Malborough Pinot Noir. Herbal with lots of tea and dark fruit notes. Quite austere and taut on the palate with defined tannins and a pleasing bitterness.

2005 Staete Landt Chardonnay Marlborough
Quite developed but with a decidedly forward but integrated oak character. There are lovely hazlenut and mushroom elements to this wine. 2005 was a great vintage and this wine shows off this in an exemplary fashion. Focused and polished.

2006 Staete Landt Chardonnay Marlborough
Very ripe pineapple, roasted groundnut and toasty oak. On the palate one finds a bunch of stone fruits and citrus.

2004 Staete Landt Chardonnay Marlborough
According to the Winemaker this was a vintage where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Despite this Ruud managed to pull off a successful bottling. The oak sits a little too high in the mix for my likings (probably something to do with barriques being used in this instance.) Perhaps the wood covers the vintage problems. Interestingly enough, upon release this wine was adored by critics and the public alike. Unfortunately a little clumsy.


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