Monday 25 April 2011

Biodynamic wine anyone?

For those who are sceptical about biodynamic or even organic wine, Dr Kaye McAulay, owner of Vynfields Organic Wine in Martinborough, New Zealand, who has just been awarded the biodynamic certification a few weeks ago, insists that there is a difference. Pesticides and fungicides used in conventional vineyards mask the expression of terroir in the wine. Organic wine is chemical free so it is more expressive. Biodynamic is 'organic plus' and the wine is even more vibrant. Certainly the Vynfields Pinot Noir 2008 was the most vibrant Pinot at a tasting I attended recently.

Hong Kong distributor: Northeast

Yalumba The Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier 2007, Australia

This is the flagship Viognier of Yalumba. Unlike most New World Viogniers which are powerful on the front palate but lack the length to balance it, the Virgilius is concentrated yet restrained. The aroma is complex with spices, grapefruit and stone fruits. It is rich with a creamy mouthfeel and a long finish. The secret? Grapes are from the oldest vines with low yield. Barrel fermentation, lees stirring and ageing in barrels add complexity and that creamy mouthfeel. Brian Walsh, chief winemaker at Yalumba, is proud of the achievement. Yalumba is widely recognised as one of the best Viogniers in the southern hemisphere.

Hong Kong distributor: Fine Vintage

Sunday 10 April 2011

Seven Hills Winery, Washington, US

Seven Hills was the fifth winery to be established in Washington's Walla Walla Valley back in 1982. While some winemakers like to harvest grapes late to concentrate the flavours, Casey McClellan, the founder and winemaker, harvests his grapes just before full ripeness. He believes fermentation can unlock the flavours trapped in the grapes. The Seven Hills Columbia Valley Merlot 2008 is lifted with perfume, and the sweet rose aroma is well balanced by the acidity. The 13.7% alcohol level is well below the usual 14.5%+ for Merlots, making the wine very palatable. The early picking certainly contributes, as does the 14% Cabernet Franc in the blend.

Hong Kong distributor: Golden Gate Wine