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Just been reading through last Tuesday's scribbled notes; some stunningly good Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminers kick off the list. I concentrated on whites for the simple reason that I ran out of time before I got to try the reds. Had a welcome diversion from the 'best of' tables with an introduction to Mike Just a winemaker who took the 25th Anniversary New Zealand Wine Tasting as an opportunity to launch his own range (Clayridge Vineyards) to the UK. He is also winemaker for Maven Wines and Auntsfield Estate which I also had the pleasure of slurping, spitting and scribbling my way through.

It was the Maven range that really stood out - the packaging is superb, each wine in the range labeled with vibrant photographs of local huts, barns or bridges in an over-saturated, blurred style. Sadly the website is down otherwise I would direct you to look before I write-up the notes; I will have to scan the images in. The stuff inside the bottles wasn't bad either!

Mike's passion for his job and his wines was very evident. He has a great story to tell, not only does he sport an eye-patch, loves donning a full suit of armour and waving around a sword but he has plans to build a medieval house on the edge of his estate. He also claims to be descended from Edward III one of the Plantagenet's.

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