More characterless bulk wines are reaching our shores from New Zealand than ever before, but it’s good to know there are still those using the old school methodology. Winemakers like Ant Moore who are hell-bent on producing wines arguably better than those that first shot this industry to fame in the 1980s.
Here, Ant gives an insight into how he creates individuality. How to make wines that don’t taste as flat or as dull as the next quirky brand sat on the supermarket shelves. Plus, he gives his confident verdict on who’s going to win the Rugby World Cup!
1. Ant, you’re an Australian winemaker plying his trade in New Zealand. Have they accepted you as one of their own yet?
hahahha….not really, the rugby provides plenty of opportunity for sledging and maintaining the aussie kiwi rivalry.
2. You’ve chosen to put your own name on your signature wines, so obviously you’re keen to impress. With all the competition in Marlborough, what makes Ant Moore wines stand out from the pack?
There are so many brands popping up, and they have no providence. Often just bulk wine sourced from anywhere. A major difference is the control, I planted my vineyards, I own and manage them, as well as have my own harvesters and my own wineries, so I can control every step. As such the wines show the same style and character vintage after vintage. I make a number of more commercial blends, but the antmoore wines are more tight and structural, coming off the clay soils, they have a density and minerality that when they are young, they can look quite closed, but after a few months in bottle they reveal layers of character. They tend to be very dry, but with good weight and texture. Balance is the goal.
3. You seem to have a knack for developing bareblocks into vineyards good enough to produce premium fruit. What’s your secret? What do you look for when trying to find new plots to grow on?
That’s an interesting one, because Marlborough is an amazing place, you can grow good fruit just about anywhere here. For me I’m trying to get sites that are harsh and restrict the natural vigour. So they have tended to be quite windswept, and often have clay based soils. I feel I get a better balance of flavour from this. More citrus and lemon lime, rather than all tomato leaf and cut grass. I’m really after balance and interest, not just one BIG character.
4. We think you’re one of the producers showing that New Zealand wine isn’t all about Sauvignon Blanc. Do you place additional emphasis on other varieties, and how important is it that NZ doesn’t become known as a one trick pony?
I do like to play with other varieties, we do rielsing, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir and I have some gruner veltliner planted also as well as a small patch of viognier. I really like to experiment and learn from trial and error, I think sauvignon is so dominant and such a crowd pleaser it’s always going to be the number one, but I’m hopeful that people will try the other wines coming out of NZ and branch out.
5. I’m assuming you have a few bottles in the fridge at home. Out of the four wines in the range, when do you get to appreciate them most? Do you have a personal favourite?
It’s funny, I dont tend to drink them all that often because I’m always tasting them at work and blending and then showing buyers and stuff…. so when I do have them it’s usually in a party or social setting with friends and family. At the moment, I’m really enjoying the riesling and the pinot noir.
6. Lastly, Ant, the Rugby World Cup is to be played in New Zealand this year. Who will you be cheering on and who, in all honesty, do you think is going to win it?
I’m going for the wallabies, and I’m eternally optimistic, so I have to say I honestly think they will win, they have an exciting side, and have added a lot of depth and hopefully enough experience to get the young guys over the line.
Many thanks to the man himself for the interview. Click here to view the range from Ant.