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Wines of the week

Seven top wines from MiNDFOOD Wine Editor Joelle Thomson's weekly tastings.

Wines of the week

2007 Clos de Ste Anne Viognier $54

This is the most powerful New Zealand white wine I’ve tasted this year, thanks to James and Annie Millton’s exacting standards in the vineyard, the winery and in their biodynamic philosophy. “Clos” is French for an enclosed area, in this case applying to the vineyard in which these viognier grapes were grown. They were hand-picked, treated to native yeast fermentation and a smidgeon of malolactic fermentation was employed to soften the structure of this stunning white. This is outstanding and sets a new standard for Kiwi white wine and viognier outside of its homeland, France.

2008 Two Tracks Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $17

This new Marlborough white is named after two tracks near the Rarangi vineyard where the grapes in this wine were grown: Black Jack Track and Whites Bay Track (home to a large wetland). Fresh, bright and zesty, this is one of the foursome in the new Two Tracks range (others include chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir).

2008 Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $22

Jules Taylor knows Marlborough better than most, having grown up there as well as making wine for Kim Crawford, Saint Clair and Cape Campbell wineries – and now her own. This intensely zingy Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc is a bold and bright white that shouts “Marlborough sauvignon”.

2007 Instinct Hawke’s Bay Kate Radburnd Syrah $20

Winemaker and now chief wine judge, Kate Radburnd has created the new Instinct range of everyday wines. This syrah (aka shiraz – same grape, different name) is a robust, full-bodied red with peppery aromas and flavours, making it great with hearty winter food. It benefits no end from being decanted or poured a couple of hours before you plan to drink it.

2007 Church Road Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon $26

If the measure of a good wine is that it tastes better than others from the same year, the same region and the same grapes, then this soft and substantial red blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon is very good indeed. Talk about a red that shines brighter than its competitors. I love the spice, soft berry fruit flavours and the staunch backbone of this too-drinkable Hawke’s Bay red.

2007 Seresin Marlborough Pinot Gris $28

It’s a hard road finding the perfect pinot gris and here is one of the very few that stands out from the crowd in style, body, taste and sheer drinkability. This is a stunner from cinematographer Michael Seresin’s Marlborough vineyard, which is steadily being converted to biodynamic. It’s worth every cent. Ignore the others.

2007 Clos de Ste Anne The Crucible Syrah $55

James and Annie Millton need no introduction to wine fanatics and followers of biodynamic wines, but to most drinkers their wines are all too rare, unheard of and unfortunately – due to scarcity – hard to find. This is worth tracking down. Made from syrah grown in Gisborne, this is a spicy, beautifully soft and still too young to drink syrah.

Buy and cellar.

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