Home port founded on Mazuran tradition

By Yvonne Lorkin

A few years ago when my father turned 60, I purchased a bottle of 1948 vintage port from a tiny, little-known winery out in West Auckland called Mazuran's.

I implored him to open it then and there.

"Nup, we'll open it when you turn 40, girl," was his response.

As the years tick by and that awful day sneaks closer, his promise of a sip of 66-year-old port has at least given me something to look forward to.

It's also got me thinking that I don't drink nearly enough of the stuff.

Port was something Dad had a flagon of in the kitchen cupboard and in my opinion it was about as unfashionable as drinking could get.

But times and tastes change, and now I find I'm on the prowl for good port.

Mazuran's has been making ports, sherries and wines for 70 years but today they're almost unheard of in the gourmet wine press, which is odd seeing as just two years ago they were winning clutches of medals at the International Wine Challenge in London, where the 1957 Gold Medal Port won a gold medal.

I think fashion has something to do with it. Mazuran's specialises in fortified wines, and for the better part of last century that was the "wine" New Zealanders drank.

The dry, European-style table wines that are the norm today, started becoming popular only in the late 1970s, yet these days they dominate the shelves.

Fortified wines are those to which spirits have been added, raising the alcohol level to between 17 and 20 per cent.

Mazuran's is the only New Zealand winery that distils its own spirit - other wineries use whey alcohol - and their original still is still going strong.

George Mazuran arrived in New Zealand in 1926 from Croatia and in 1938 he bought land on Lincoln Rd, Henderson. He harvested his first vintage four years later.

After World War II, Mazuran became a very successful political lobbyist.

He was a man of strong conviction and would become one of the most successful lobbyists as he strived to get a better deal for small, family-owned wineries such as his.

In 1971 he was awarded the OBE for his services to the wine industry.

In 2005, his contribution was acknowledged with a place in the Wine Hall of Fame.

When Mazuran died, the winery was passed to fellow Croatian Rado Hladilo, who arrived in New Zealand in 1968. Mazuran had taken him under his wing, taught him the trade, then gave him his daughter's hand in marriage. So destiny had it that as well as remaining in the old Mazuran family home Hladilo preserved the sherry and port-producing tradition his father in-law started.

Now here's where that tradition can pay off for you.

If you're 71 years old or under, there's a better than average chance that Mazuran's could provide a wine from the year of your birth.

So all you baby boomers are in luck.

How nice to have some great booze to remind you of how old you are.

For information visit www.mazurans.co.nz

3 Sips of the week

Ryan Nelsen Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2011 $26

If there was such a thing as a nectarine-flavoured creme brulee in a lightly toasted oak ramekin, then that's exactly the flavour spectrum you'll find in this wine.

There's also a tasty vein of pineapple which wraps around the finish. Ryan Nelsen may be an international soccer star, but he's also scored a goal where winemaking is concerned. Good stuff indeed. www.finewinedelivery.co.nz

Romate Pedro Ximenez $29

This is one of the sauciest Spanish sherries I've ever tasted.

Oozing delicious, dark, dried fruit, toffee and liquorice notes rounded out with rose caramel and toasted hazelnut flavours - it is the perfect partner for strong, salty cheeses and slivers of gingerbread.


Longridge Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2012 $12

Why on earth have I been walking past this wine in the supermarket for so long? For the money it's a cracker.

Tropical, fruity aromas of nashi pear, peach and soft spices followed by a crisp, tangy and decently tasty mouthfeel and finish.

Widely available.


- Hamilton News

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