The gentle giant of syrahs

By Joelle Thomson

We eat organic food, now let’s embrace organic and biodynamic wines, MiNDFOOD reports.

What is it about biodynamic wines that makes them taste so good?

Every time I put one to my lips it stands out from everything else, and right now there are quite a few other wines in my reach.

Lined up on the tasting bench tonight are four syrahs, only one of which proves drinkable and it comes from a place with a poor track record of red winemaking: Gisborne.

Wine fanatics will realise by now that with these variables – syrah, Gisborne, biodynamic winemaking – there can be only one wine we’re talking about: Millton Vineyard Clos de St Anne Syrah.

It tastes so good, like silk gliding over my tongue, that I could swear it’s a great pinot noir or burgundy.

After years of grappling with Gisborne’s bulk winemaking image – not to mention its ever so slightly challenging climate and heavy soils – winemaker James Millton is redefining the region’s red wines. He has decades under his belt of crafting top whites from the region and according to one writer, Millton’s pinot noir has “redrawn” New Zealand’s pinot noir map. I like the pinot noir but it is the syrah that has the truest mana of his current red line-up.

It combines power with gentle seductive qualities; a gentle giant of a wine, in other words.

Millton is not alone in creating biodynamic wines that wow. Chapoutier, Pyramid Valley, Bonny Doon, Weinbach, Seresin Estate, Rippon Vineyard, the list continues. Biodynamic winemakers are growing in number around New Zealand and the world.

In a fortnight I’m visiting Millton again at his vineyard to talk about his pioneering biodynamic winemaking. Watch this space.

P.S. Mana is an Oceanic term for power.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login