The New Zealand Cellar sits down with Hugh Crichton from Vidal Estate to discuss all things wine in our “Down In The Cellar” series.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE WORLD OF WINE AND WHY?
That’s a difficult question given there are so many great people in the world of wine but if I had to select one I’d say Sir George Fistonich, a man who I’ve been fortunate to work closely with over the last 15 years. The guys a legend! His focus on quality when it comes to vineyard, winemaking, and people.
- His ability to relate to people and lead. His questioning mind – how things have been done doesn’t set the scene for our things should be done – always thinking of better ways.
- His determination and don’t give up attitude if you believe in something.
- His long term vision and embracement of change.
- His achievements over his long journey starting as a 21yr old, leasing a small piece of land to what is now the largest family-owned vineyard and winery business in New Zealand – still with quality at the forefront.
WHAT WINE VARIETY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR ITS FUTURE IN NZ?
Without question Chardonnay!
HAVE YOU HAD A “WINE MOMENT”? LIKE A SPECIFIC POINT IN TIME WHERE YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO WORK IN THE WINE INDUSTRY?
I was actually already in the industry (just!) but my direction could have gone done many paths. After a vintage in Bordeaux in ‘97, I was fortunate to have a day visiting a few inspiring estates, one being Cheval Blanc – tasting a ’96 parcel out of the barrel was a point in time that made me realize how incredible wine could taste.
WHAT ARE YOUR 5 FAVORITE WINES AVAILABLE AT THE NEW ZEALAND CELLAR?
Too many to limit to 5!
IS THERE A SPECIFIC WINE REGION YOU BENCHMARK YOUR WINES AGAINST?
First and foremost Hawke’s Bay – our place is our place. It has uniqueness. Isn’t it better to look at yourselves more than you look at others? The wine regions of the world that inspire are those that have a similar climatic framework to Hawke’s Bay but of course, stylistic interpretation within that framework is where the real inspiration comes from.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE YOU’VE MET WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY?
That not everyone will like your wine style. If you try to do something for everyone then it’s likely to take you down the path of average.
WE HAVE RECENTLY OPENED OUR OTHER HALF ‘THE AUSTRALIAN CELLAR’ – HAVE YOU TASTED MANY AUSTRALIAN WINES AND IF SO WHICH REGION ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR?
Plenty of great regions in Aus but for me, the cooler areas like Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, and Adelaide Hills are producing exciting wines. Will be others but for me, it’s about cool or cool within warm.
SET THE SCENE FOR US. YOU ARE HAVING THE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE…
What are you drinking (from your range)?
Legacy Chardonnay with a few years of age on it
Who are you drinking it with?
What are you eating?
Fresh Hawke’s Bay seafood
And what music is playing?