NEW ZEALAND'S Giesen Wines, who've been in the business some thirty years, have just released their first-ever organic wine, and appropriately in the footsteps of their flagship Sauvignon Blanc.
Fruit for this quite marvellous drop came off vines planted in 2010 on a vineyard that had been left fallow for two vintages, after earlier vines had been ripped out; Giesen now have around 40ha of their 290ha vineyards at Marlborough planted to several varieties of vines that are raised and cared for organically – something that winemaker Marcel Giesen says "spurs the viticultural and winemaking teams to become much closer to the seasons and the vineyards.
"Now when it rains they have to get back into the vineyard to see the impact," he says. "They can no longer rely upon having the backup of additives to protect the fruit. By returning to traditional practices, we are growing grapes true to reflection of the terroir."
Fruit for the Giesen Organic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 came from two distinctly different vineyards, giving a wide range of fruit flavours that are reflected in this wine's crisp, zesty citrus flavours and herbaceous notes.
Pay $19.99 for this interesting, rewarding and ideal seafood wine: pair it with pan-fried trout or grilled lobster, or a cold seafood platter.
ONE TO NOTE: MANDALA Wines owner, Charles Smedley was quick to recognise the good vintage shaping-up in the Yarra Valley in 2010, but confesses now that he didn't realise just how good. "The warm to mild conditions gave us a long, gentle growing season, and the rains came in an even cycle so there was no need to irrigate," he says.
The resultant Mandala 2010 'The Butterfly' Cabernet Sauvignon reflects that vintage, with Charles saying that seeing the wine now after time in bottle, reflects how the vintage was "better than just good – it was particularly good." At $50 this is a roast dinner wine to enjoy with anything from beef or lamb, to duck or wild game.
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 GOING organic keeps New Zealand's Giesen Wines' crew of their toes – but rewards with drops like this.
 PARTICULARLY good vintage brought about this great roast dinner wine.