Millton Vineyards, pioneering biodynamic NZ wines

The Winesleuth has finally gotten a new job!! Yay!!!  I’m so glad to be moving on and my new job is with the natural  (and local) wine bar, Artisan and Vine. I met Kathryn (first post here) back in February and was so impressed by her enthusiasm and passion (see video here) for natural and local (read English) wines that I started hanging around A&V, even taking a trip with Kathryn to Davenport Vineyards (video here) this past March. And now I’ve joined A&V to be able to work with all those amazing, interesting natural wines.   Trafalgar roundabout from on high So earlier this week, I found myself at the top of New Zealand House on Haymarket, enjoying the views of London – London Eye on one side, Buck House on the other with  Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in between. It really makes you realize how closely packed everything is in London. Now you might be wondering, what the hell was the Winesleuth doing up in the penthouse of NZ House? Why, at a winetasting of course, deciding what new wines to add to the A&V list. They were of course natural and biodynamic wines, this batch from New Zealand with winemaker, James Millton of Millton Vineyards, Gisbourne, NZ, in attendance and hosted by the good folks of Vintage Roots, one of the UK’s leading organic wine specialists. Bio certified James and Annie Millton were one of the pioneers of natural, biodynamic wine production in the Southern Hemisphere, establishing their vineyard on the banks of the Te Arai River near Gisbourne on the North Island of New Zealand. The Millton philosophy is to produce wine traditionally using biodynamic techniques. They adhere to the original biodynmic principles as laid out by Dr Rudolf Stiener in 1924 and all the wines are certified biodynamic and have the “Bio-gro”organic trademark and grower number on the back of the bottle. What does this mean? In a nut shell it encompasses “…growing the grapes without the use of herbicides, insecticides, systemic fungicides or soluble fertilisers. It also...

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Cloudy Bay, video winetasting at the Bluebird

Cloudy Bay=Sauvignon blanc=New Zealand’s iconic wine. The one that put it on the map.This was all I knew about NZ sauvignon blanc until I moved to London and had opportunity to try it. Cloudy Bay has been so iconic that consumers might not even know how it tastes but buy it on the name alone.  Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Until recently, it was fabulous but their main wine maker, the one who put them on the map left, after being taking over by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy) So, how is it now? Well, Wine90 (Sarah Newton) and I were at the the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird the other night to try the latest releases which included some surprisin other varietals as well as the usual  sauvignon blanc on show. See what we thought… Tasting notes: Cloudy Bay 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – nettly nose with notes of ripe pineapple and other tropical fruits. Good acidity but quite a rounded mouthful with a long lime finish. I liked it but think it’s a bit overpriced at £21.99 Cloudy Bay 2008 Gewurztraminer  – We both loved this one! Honeysuckle, rose water, and apparently Turkish delight on the nose, a lovely palate of more honeysuckle and orange blossoms. I thought it was an excellent example, lush and well balanced with just enough acidity to stop it from becoming louche and flabby. £26.00 Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2006, released 2009 –  this is their boutique wine, made from a wines that have been fermented using indigenous yeasts. A few barrels were put aside and they let nature run it’s course. The result was this rich, complex, creamy wine with layers of fruit, smoke, butter, and gingery spices, a fabulous wine. £37.00 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2006 – New Zealand is certainly carving out a niche for themselves in the pinot noir stakes. I’ve had a fair amount of NZ PN and Cloudy Bay’s offering is typical New world – loads of smoky bacon and black plums, wood spices lurking in the background. On the palate, lush tannins, but a...

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