Easthope Family Winegrowers Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2013

It was a shock when Rod Easthope resigned from his position as chief winemaker at Craggy Range effective after the 2012 vintage. However in leaving what could be regarded as a dream job, he embarked on the next phase of his career and life making wines of his own under the ‘Naked Wines’ business. And possibly more importantly, he could devote more time to the Easthope Family Winegrowers brand with his wife Emma, also a winemaker. Although Rod and Emma have already released wines under the ‘Easthope’ nomenclature, they have created ‘Easthope Family Winegrowers’ for their pre-eminent wines. These will be focussed and "singular”, and "know where they are going” according to Rod, telling their unique story from the vineyard to the bottle. Rod talks about the expression of "absolute primacy of idiosyncracy” being more important than making wines that are created to be judged on the classically accepted standards. Rod further explains his philosophy as the "culmination of unmatched viticultural detail and an irreverence for current winemaking convention”. I take that as he and Emma being free to make wines that speak strongly of their true persona, encompassing the critical aspects of vineyard, fruit and vinification that make those wines special and unique. With 21 years of winemaking and 27 vintages behind him, and 12 vintages for Emma, one can be assured that they will have come to a strong understanding and belief in their approach. Here, I review the first ‘Easthope Family Winegrowers’ wine, a Te Muna Road Pinot Noir from the 2013 vintage. It will be released on 1 July this year. This is to be joined by a Chardonnay later this year, then a Syrah and red blend next year. www.easthope.co.nz


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