"Hiro is a driven individual, totally focussed on seeking purity of fruit character in Pinot Noir. He came to New Zealand, after tasting an Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 1992. Being employed by Fujitsu, then the Consulate General of Japan, but always keen on wine, especially the Rieslings of Germany, he changed his career path, probably to the dismay of his wife Reiko and parents, and went to Geisenheim University to study oenology and viticulture. Captured by the beguiling nature of Burgundy, and tasting the Martinborough wine, he realised his dream of making his own Pinot Noir with purity could be achieved in New Zealand.
The Kusuda wines have been and continue to be made from fruit sourced from different sites in the Martinborough district and vinified at the Schubert winery in Greytown. In 2002 and 2003, Hiro Kusuda leased Muirlea Rise for the wines. In 2004, he purchased Pinot Noir from Schubert. No wine was made in 2005 due to loss of crops due to rain. 2006 saw Pinot Noir from Pond Paddock, an arrangement that continued to 2009. Hiro purchased the Murdoch James'‘Saleyard' Syrah that year too, and made wine from it. This 1.1 ha site has Syrah vines dating back 20 years of age. In 2008, he made a one-off Bordeaux varietal wine from Benfield & Delamare fruit. In 2009, he made his first Riesling, made from Pond Paddock fruit. For 2010, Pond Paddock fruit formed the base of the Riesling and Pinot Noir, Hiro supplementing the volume with Stonecutter Pinot Noir and Julicher Riesling. In 2011, Pond Paddock provided all the Riesling and Pinot Noir. In 2012, Hiro is leasing Martinus for Pinot Noir and purchasing Riesling from Cirrus.
A key feature to achieve quality is the extremely meticulous if not fanatical sorting of the fruit, at harvest and especially on the berries before vinification. The Claremont Motel in Martinborough has Kusuda Wines as their most important client during vintage as hordes of pickers pay their own way from Japan to say they've been able to work with one of Japan's most highly regarded winemakers and contribute to the quality! Some stay for two days, others for a month or more. It takes 2-3 days for 10-15 people to sort through one tonne of Pinot Noir, depending on the health of the fruit. From around 10-15 tonnes of fruit, the annual output is less than 1,000 cases. In 2007, there were only4 tonnes processed! 70% of the tiny Kusuda production goes to Japan, where it has a cult following. The remainder is sold evenly in Australia and locally."Raymond Chan
What The Critics Say
96/100 Bob Campbell MW (2015 vintage)
"Bone dry Riesling with an interesting mix of lime, grapefruit and citrus flavours, with ginger and a hint of anise. The wine also has a suggestion of toasty yeast lees character. Powerful wine with a great texture and a lingering finish. Should age very well."
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