Mission ‘Fete’ Sparkling Cuvee

Established in 1851, Mission Estates is celebrating its 160th year. Any student of New Zealand wine will be fascinated by Mission's history, but at the same time can be assured of its significant role in the industry today. CEO Peter Holley heads a tight, very experienced but forward thinking team, with winemaker Paul Mooney who has 33 years under his belt there, Caine Thompson as viticulturist and a sales and marketing crew with Martin Greig, Andrew Hulse and Vanessa McMahon. The start of this month saw Prime Minister John Key open the new sustainable winery at Taradale. Caine Thompson is employing state of the art GPS technology and exploring organic and biodynamic regimes in the vineyards for higher quality fruit, while Vanessa McMahon is committed to utilising social media for the future branding. The last year in particular has seen Mission succeed spectacularly with its wines on the world stage. These are signs of a company achieving very well.

In my early days learning about wine in the 1970s, Mission ‘Demi-Sec Hock' was all the rage. But one wine from Mission was already legendary – the ‘Fontanella' Champagne-style wine, first released in 1963, and a wine before its time. I only got to taste this remarkable wine on a couple of occasions. By then the bottles I tasted were probably past their best, but I was too inexperienced to know much better! Mission Estate has released a new sparkling, named ‘Fete' aptly named, to party with in celebrating their 160th birthday. While not a method traditionnelle wine but ‘Charmat' in production, a number of different techniques have been used by Paul Mooney to build in complexity and interest. It's a serious sparkling look-alike with full appeal for all bubbles enthusiasts. www.missionestate.co.nz

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