Wine reviews can evoke bittersweet emotions, even years later. Reading the review of the dry white Brancott Vineyards Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 1997 that appeared in January/February 1999’s “From the Saveur Cellar,” I was saddened. Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the Gisborne region was long regarded as one of the country’s most reliable sources of chardonnay. But five years ago, the French-owned company that controls Brancott Estate announced it was canceling its contracts to buy Gisborne chardonnay, robbing many growers of their livelihoods. Even the wine world isn’t immune to the harsh realities of big business. But luckily there’s an artisanal alternative, a blossomy delight known as Millton Opou Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 ($25) that’s made from some of New Zealand’s first biodynamically grown vines. I’m grateful for small producers like Annie and James Millton, who are preserving wine styles that might otherwise be lost.
Jancis Robinson is the author of jancisrobinson.com and a_Financial Times columnist._