The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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Page 52 of 152

INTRO-VINOUS The Company (and Country) Man MATUA WINES' BILL SPENCE PUTS THE ZEAL IN NEW ZEALAND WINES by Rich Manning / photos by David Moyle I Bill Spence is Brand Ambassador for Matua Wines, a winery that he co-founded in 1974. t's safe to say that Matua Wines Brand Ambassador Bill Spence has an intimate knowledge of the product he promotes. After all, he co-founded the internationally award-winning New Zealand winery back in 1974, armed with nothing more than a degree in horticulture and a deep interest in experimentation. His passion for tinkering in the soil also led him to create his country's first ever Sauvignon Blanc. And while that particular varietal has grown to be the global calling card for the nation's wine industry, his innovate steps didn't exactly inspire people out of the gate. "People thought we were mad," Spence recalls. "Everyone was just so used to Rieslings back then; they were convinced that Sauvignon Blanc grapes were not going to grow." These days, it's pretty obvious that Spence was in his right mind. "Sauvignon Blanc grapes currently make up about 70% of the country's total crush," he says. "If you talk wine to anyone from New Zealand, they will talk to you about Sauvignon Blanc." To be sure, Spence spends quite a lot of time now chatting about the varietal's special, splendid relationship with Matua, which is expressed through wines like their newly released 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Yet as Spence zips around to extol the virtues of the winery he helped build—a The Matua Pinot Noir is a fine example position that he breathlessly admits to of a varietal that is becoming a New being "miles apart" from his former Zealand signature. gig—he also believes that his sense of promotion has some rather strong nationalistic ties. "There are still three main misconceptions about New Zealand," he states. "The first one is that we don't make world-class wines. The second one is that we're a short hop from Australia. The third one is that we're tiny. All of these things are completely inaccurate, so I feel it's my duty to educate people not only on the excellence of Matua's wines, but on the excellence of our country, too." Spoken like a true ambassador. Matua is imported by Treasury Wine Estates. 52  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2013 TP1013_034-65.indd 52 9/23/13 10:33 PM

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