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
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