Material Pleasures

It has been compared to a 1961 Bordeaux, but if that sounds like a hyperbolic description of New Zealand's 2005 Waiheke vintage, its proponents can be excused. After all, there aren't too many fledgling wine districts with products comparable to the legendary French vintage in terms of balance, intensity and depth — not after a history of just 23 years of grape growing. Then again, few places have a terroir and microclimate like Waiheke.

An island 35 minutes from Auckland by ferry, Waiheke is home to vineyards situated on clay soil mixed with volcanic rock, giving grapes a...

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