A wine that revels in the incantations of a wonderful limestone-inflected site and its iteration with wild yeast, smart oak and a fine interplay of phenolic chew, pungent mineral and juicy acidity. Think porcini, truffle, stone fruit riffs and creamed cashew. Often released with some bottle age, this is as close to fine Burgundy as it gets, at an nth of the price.
This is exceptional bottle-aged Chardonnay. A nose redolent of wild yeast’s incantations: dried mushrooms, hay, cookie dough and truffle. A taut, firm, mid-weighted palate of considerable density and a saline, chewy energy. This rises way above obvious fruit references, all for the better. If you seek them, they are intertwined amidst the fray: apricot pith, orange zest and others. Yet it is the holistic persuasion of all components that make this exciting. Burgundian. Excuse the cliched reference, but it remains the comparative point of all superlative Chardonnay. This is well on the way.
95 points (August 2020)
<p>Koyama Mountford was planted in 1991 on an enviable calcareous scree embedded in the northwestern face of the eastern Waipara Valley. A substrata of marl brimming with plentiful active limestone, it is known as ‘The Golden Mile’. This is the soil type on which Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel. A geological foundation seldom found in the antipodes, limestone imparts a structural carapace while infusing the Mountford wines with a signature mineral force. Be it the resinous expressions of Chardonnay, or densely layered Pinot Noir, an apogee of complexity reached with the single vineyard expressions, the Mountford wines have long struck a chord with even the most devout Burgundy lovers.</p>
<p>Success is due as much to a propitious confluence of site and meticulous attention to detail, as it is to a savvy succession plan.</p>
<p>Crafted by CP Lin since inception, a maker well versed in the magic of Burgundy, the cultish renown of the Mountford style continues to evince authority while exhibiting an even more refined cut-glass precision, since his retirement.</p>
<p>It was then only fitting that the head winemaker role be bequeathed to his assistant, Takahiro Koyama. Koyama sought investment from top wine collectors in the world’s most venerable and demanding market for Burgundy. Where else, but for Japan! These collectors were as smitten by the Mountford track record as the world’s top buyers and critics remain spell-bound.</p>
<p>In 2017 Koyama purchased the estate to complement his eponymous label. Today both Koyama and Koyama Mountford benefit from this superlative site, Koyama’s winemaking nous, a dedicated posse of well versed backers and unparalleled Japanese precision.</p>