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Featured Reviews

Millton 2016 Chenin Blanc and 2015 Riesling Viognier and Gewurztraminer

25 July,2017
For over three decades, James and Annie Millton have inspired winegrowers in New Zealand and beyond for their innovative and environmental approaches to growing wine, and making it their lives. Growing grapes in the Gisborne region has the benefits of warmer growing conditions, but also the consistent threats of weather deterioration at the all-important autumn period of harvest. However, persistence and thoughtful planning at Millton have minimised much of the risk. The incorporation of organic and biodynamic regimes from the beginning has contributed significantly to the successful winegrowing. The Millton Vineyard gained BioGro organic certification in 1989, the first in New Zealand to do so, and gained Demeter Biodynamic certification in 2009, the first winegrower in the Southern Hemisphere thus certified.

Nowadays, Millton Vineyards is regarded as the premier winegrower in Gisborne, arguably making the best range of wines in the district from its 30 ha of estate vines. The pinnacle of the Millton Vineyards bottlings is the ‘Clos de Ste Anne; wines from special hillside plantings. But the wines from the ‘Te Arai’ and ‘Opou’ vineyards in Manutuke, and ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard in the Matawhero district are also outstanding performers. Here, I review the 2016 ‘Te Arai’ Chenin Blanc, 2015 ‘Opou’ Riesling, and 2015 ‘Riverpoint Viognier and Gewurztraminer.


Millton ‘Te Arai Vineyard’ Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2016

Chenin Blanc from New Zealand – Gisborne

Brilliant, light yellow colour with light golden hues and some depth, paler on the rim. The nose is very fresh and taut in concentration with a good, deep core of white stonefruits and white florals with fresh straw notes and nuances of wet-stone minerals. Dryish to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is very fresh and bright with a finely concentrated heart of white stonefruits and white florals along with thirst-quenching mineral flavours. The mouthfeel is crisp and dry, the acidity very refreshing, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured phenolic threaded line. The flavours remain tightly bound, adding linearity, and the wine carries to a long, finely bound stonefruit and mineral finish. This is a taut, refreshing and thirst-quenching dry Chenin Blanc with white stonefruit, floral and mineral flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 5-6 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Te Arai’ vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented in 600 L demi-muids and tank to 11.5% alc. and 7.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 8 months prior bottling. Certified BioGro organic and certified Demeter biodynamic. 18.0/20 Jul 2017 RRP $30.00

Millton ‘Opou Vineyard’ Gisborne Riesling 2015

Riesling from New Zealand – Gisborne

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is finely detailed with full and voluminous aromas of lime and citrus fruit harmoniously melded with notes of honey, toast and steely minerals. The aromatics show some complexity, but remain fresh and youthful, with good concentration and intensity. Medium sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate has soft, delicate and subtle flavours of citrus fruits and white florals entwined with notes of honeysuckle and suggestions of toasty interest. The mouthfeel is soft and rounded with a gentle core of fine phenolic textures and fruit extract, balanced by integrated acidity lending tension and poise. The wine carries to a long and sustained finish of savoury citrus fruits and honey. This is a delicate and soft, light bodied, medium Riesling with gentle flavours and richness and fine acid poise. Serve as an aperitif and with Asian fare over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Opou’ vineyard, some WBP and a portion given skin contact, fermented to 8.5% alc. and 36 g/L RS, TA 8.5 g/L and pH 3.1, the wine aged 6 months on lees. Certified BioGro organic and certified Demeter biodynamic. 18.0+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $28.00

Millton ‘Riverpoint Vineyard’ Gisborne Viognier 2015

Viognier from New Zealand – Gisborne

Bright yellow colour with pale golden hues, lighter on the rim. This has an elegantly proportioned nose with tightly bound aromas of exotic yellow stonefruits, citrus zest and florals along with apricot notes and hints of saline that form a concentrated core. This is fresh and youthful. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a firm core of yellow and white stonefruits entwined with exotic tropical fruits, citrus zest, nuances of apricots and saline notes. This has richness and concentration, and a near-unctuousness to the texture, balanced by alcohol cut and acid zestiness. The wine has strong drive, leading to an elegantly proportioned, lingering finish. This is a fine and firmly concentrated Dry Viognier with exotic fruits, citrus zest and florals, with good richness, drive and freshness. Match with pork, veal and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Hand-picked Viognier fruit from the ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard, vines aged back to 1997, 6% of the wine with 30 days skin-fermented and aged Viognier, along with 4% Marsanne and nearly 2% Muscat, indigenous yeast fermented in 300 L French oak and stainless-steel tanks to 13.6% alc. and 4.0 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic and certified Demeter biodynamic. 18.5+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $26.00

Millton ‘Riverpoint Vineyard’ Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2015

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Gisborne

Deep, light orange-gold colour, paler on the edge. The nose is full and broad with aromas of fully-ripened tropical fruits, Turkish Delight, musk and honey harmoniously interwoven with marmalade and hints of root ginger. The nose possesses great richness and is opulent and decadent in expression. Mediumish to taste and full-bodied, the palate has bold and up-front flavours of ripe tropical fruits and Turkish Delight melded with musk, honey and marmalade. The flavours are rich and opulent, unfolding rounded decadence to fill the mouth, and are underlined by considerable alcoholic drive. The wine reveals a little varietal root-ginger bitterness, but remains soft and integrated as it carries with power to a long, and sustained finish. This is a bold and opulent mediumish Gewurztraminer with harmoniously integrated fruit and botrytis flavours of tropical fruits, Turkish Delight, honey, musk and marmalade, on a powerfully driven palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard, 24% botrytised, tank-fermented on skins for a few days, to 14.5% alc. and 9.5 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic and certified Demeter biodynamic. 18.5-/20 Jul 2017 RRP $26.00
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