Do biodynamic wines have 'energy'? Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2014

millton riverpoint viognier

Do biodynamic wines have an energy to them? This idea will probably really, really annoy some readers – especially the scientific ones – because in order to answer this question, you should really define energy in this context, and then demonstrate its presence in some wines and its absence in others. And I can’t do this.

But there were a number of biodynamic wines that, on my recent trip to New Zealand, certainly had an energy to them. Maybe this was suggestion, in part? A smart friend planted this idea in my head, and so when I was tasting I was thinking of it. This wine had it. It was a remarkable wine, and one of my favourites of the trip, from James Millton in Gisborne.

Millton Riverpoint Vineyard Viognier 2014 Gisborne, New Zealand
This is all about the phenolics, says James Millton. It’s made in 300 litre barrels and the high-ish pH gives a sort of salty character, with phenolics giving freshness. ‘The word umami creeps into it,’ he says. ‘One thing I like is the saliva reaction.’ Most of the wine is made by taking bunches, crushing them and letting them sit for 6 h before pressing, but 8% gets 86 days’ skin contact. Powerful, salty and savoury with some spiciness and rich pear fruit. There’s some spicy, peppery character under the rich fruit and lovely orange peel notes leading to a juicy finish. Amazing texture and depth here: this is a beautiful, energetic wine. 95/100

Find this wine with wine-searcher.com

6 comments to Do biodynamic wines have ‘energy’? Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2014

  • When wine gets super-geeky. Kinda love it.

  • You are certainly right about some readers having an issue with wines having energy. From a physics point of view energy means the capacity of a physical system to perform work. From an anthropomorphic point of view it means a person having the capacity to perform work. Either way it means the potential for doing something, and wine doesn’t do anything.

    That a person who believes that planets give off light (a biodynamic pricipal) believes their wine has “energy” is no surprise, but it is just one more example of words and concepts with actual meaning being co-opted by those who would rather believe than know.

    That you enjoyed the wine, perhaps even so much that you felt invigorated after tasting it, these things have meaning. There are a lot of words one can use to convey an experience. Using misappropriated terms and malapropisms does not add to understanding.

  • As a scientist Jamie, surely the way to answer your question would be to mount an extensive blind tasting and see if there’s any correlation between wines which tasters claim show “energy” and those made biodynamically. If there were, you could take your sample set to someone reputable, say the AWRI, and ask them what parameter people are defining as “energy”. Then to finish off the exercise you could just invent a new word for “energy”, to keep the scientifically-minded amongst your readership onboard.

    Does anyone have the will / curiosity / research funding to look into the issue or is it best left to individual beliefs?

  • Damien

    Wonder if it’s Viognier, rather than biodynamic, that has that elusive “energy”?
    Never really regarded as a variety for ageing, and perhaps more markedly different from producer-to-producer than any other grape, it does seem to have a quality that dissipates (changes) rapidly in bottle.

  • James Millton

    If I am/was religious do I need a measure able amount of energy to get to Heaven, or do I need to seek funding to go though the process to prove I have right of passage. Was the “E” in E=mc2 referring to energy or enthusiasm? Come on white coated beings, suspend your disbelief, sit down and drink a decent glass, and lighten up!!!

  • Simon Killen

    Our first Christmas wine this year to accompany zuchinni and dill fritters, and oysters.

    A STUNNING wine, a tantalising, shape-shifting wine that is joy from top to bottom. I am no scientist, but I have just ordered another half-case.

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