I had the pleasure of meeting Hiro Kusuda in Sydney a few years ago, after a friend of mine described him to me as a Japanese lawyer with OCD. Kusuda is a perfectionist who, as Jancis Robinson MW notes, employs "the most rigorous grape selection process I have ever seen."
Kusuda's story is fascinating, having worked as a lawyer (in Japan) and diplomat (in Sydney), he finally got the wine bug and studied in Germany. He did stints in Australia, Burgundy and toured the Rhone, but finally settled in NZ where he'd visited to complete parts of his thesis. Kusuda moved to Martinborough permanently with his family in 2001 and started on his wine odyssey, making tiny quantities of high quality pinot noir, syrah and riesling. The results are extraordinary.
"The relatively pale colour of this pinot noir might trick you into thinking it’s a light wine but don’t be deceived, it has extraordinary power and length. A wine that’s all about purity and subtlety. Cherry, fresh herbs and subtle spices. Reserve judgement until it has at least a few year’s bottle age. (Cork)."
96 points, Bib Campbell MW, The Real Review.
Ranked no.1 of 21 Pinot Noir from Martinborough.