Featured Reviews

Crazy by Nature and Millton Vineyards 2017 – 2015 Releases

23 August,2018

In 1984, James and Annie Millton established their wine venture on the banks of the Te Arai River, Manutuke, Gisborne. In a time when the region was primarily supplying bulk fruit and juice, theirs was a boutique operation which added to only a handful of others in their size, What made them different to all other winegrowers was the path of organic and then biodynamic regimes, which labelled them as ‘crazy’. Nowadays, of course, the wine world and the world in general respect organics and is growing to accept biodynamics as being as natural as possible and expressive of terroir and provenance. The Milltons were the first to achieve certification with both regimes in this country. Not only are the Millton Vineyards wines organic and biodynamic, but they are extremely good.

Here, I review two ‘Crazy by Nature’ wines, the label referring to the feeling of both the Mittons and observers on their approaches, and a selection of Millton Vineyards wines, ranging from 2017 to 2015. As with some of this country’s most adventurous and innovative winemakers, James Millton is incorporating skin contact and fermentation on skins, along with subtle blending adjustments employing other varieties in making his wines more interesting, balanced and complete. The Millton Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier are due for release in October. The other interesting point with this selection tasted is that the fully-sweet ‘Clos Samuel’ wine is bottled in 750 ml, which is far more useful for varied dining situations (not just dessert), and in this format, its price is extremely good value www.millton.co.nz


Crazy by Nature ‘Shotberry’ Gisborne Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour with some depth, lighter edged. The nose is full and up-front, and packed with dense aromas of savoury citrus fruit aromas along with yellow stonefruits and suggestions of minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has flavours of fresh and savoury citrus fruit layered with subtle notes of stonefruits and nuts. The flavours are up-front anf mouthfilling, the fruit richness balanced by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine carries along a light-textured line, leading to an elegant finish. This is a fresh, up-front Chardonnay with savoury and fresh citrus fruit flavours along with nutty notes, the acidity providing balancing cut. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3 years. 89% Chardonnay from the ‘Riverpoint’ and ‘Opou’ vineyards blended with 7% Viognier and 4% Marsanne, indigenous yeast fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 17.5-/20 Aug 2018 RRP $21.00

Crazy by Nature ‘Cosmo Red’ Gisborne 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Gisborne


Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in presentation with a tight core of black-berried fruits with a subtle layering of spice notes and savoury earth and herbs along with some minerally reduction. Medium-bodied, the palate has a finely proportioned core with bright and lively flavours of blackberry fruit along with lifted dark raspberries, spice notes and an amalgam of herbs, earth an reductive elements. The fruit id underlined by grainy tannin extraction lending structure and grip to the mouthfeel, along with light, lacy acidity. The wine carries to a lingering finish of blackberries, raspberries and earth with a hint of minerally reduction. This is an elegantly proportioned blended red with blackberry, raspberry, spice, herb and earth with some reduction on a palate with some grip. Serve with barbecued and grilled red meat dishes over the next 3+ years. A blend of Malbec from ‘Te Arai’, Syrah from ‘Opou’ and Viognier from ‘Riverpoint’ vineyards, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in 600 L oak barrels. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 16.5+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $26.00

Millton ‘Te Arai Vineyard’ Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2017

Chenin Blanc from New Zealand – Gisborne


Full, bright golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh with well-concentrated and deeply intense, powerful aromas of yellow florals and yellow stonefruits along with notes of honey and subtle nutty nuances. This has a steely, mineral freshness underlining the aromatics. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is softly presented with gently unctuous flavours of yellow stonefruits and yellow florals, along with honeysuckle notes. The fruit forms a rich, soft, rounded core with a little acid freshness lending tension. The wine flows softly and smoothly to a gentle, honied finish. This is a rich and gently unctuous dryish Chenin Blanc with yellow stonefruit, floral and honied flavours on a smooth, rounded palate. Match with roasted white meat dishes over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Te Arai’ vineyard, fermented in 600 L demi-muids and tank to 12.0% alc. and 5.6 g/L RS. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 18.0+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $32.00

Millton ‘Opou Vineyard’ Gisborne Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright, even, light golden-hued yellow colour, paler on the edge. The nose is elegantly presented with taut aromas of white and yellow stonefruits along with nutty oak nuances and a suggestion of flinty detail adding interest. Mineral elements unfold with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has deep and intense flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with rich citrus fruit elements, forming a tight palate core. The fruit is complexed by soft, nutty, flinty and mineral elements. This has richness, energy and drive, and carries to a long, lingering, dry finish along a fine, phenolic-textured line. This is an intense and deeply fruited Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrus fruits and a taut core with plenty of energy and drive. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Opou’ vineyard with 8% declassified ‘Naboth’s’ fruit, fully indigenous yeast fermented with 7.3% on skins for 200 days, to 12.8% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 10% new French oak, with partial MLF. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 18.5-/20 Aug 2018 RRP $32.00

Millton ‘Riverpoint Vineyard’ Gisborne Viognier 2016

Viognier from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright, even light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little paler on the edge. The nose is softly full and voluminous with aromas of apricots entwined with white and yellow stonefruits, florals and nuances of saline and minerals adding freshness and cut. This has excellent presence. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is full and gently mouthfilling with flavours of apricots, exotic tropical fruit and yellow stonefruits with lifted yellow florals. The fruit forms a finely concentrated core with light phenolic textures guiding the wine along a dry line. Background acidity lends energy, and the flavours lead to a long and sustained finish. This is a gently rich and smooth-flowing dry Viognier with bright apricotty fruit and fine textures guiding the wine to a long finish. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented in 300 L French oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks, with whole bunches fermented on skins for 30 days, to 12.5% alc. and 1.6 g/L RS, blended with 6% Marsanne from the ‘Opou’ vineyard and 2% Muscat from the ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 18.5/20 Aug 2018 RRP $26.00

Millton ‘Clos Samuel’ Gisborne Viognier ‘Special Berry Selection’ 2015

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright, deep, golden-hued orange colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full and softly voluminous with a rounded, but deeply packed core of ripe tropical fruit and apricots, entwined with honey, nectar and orange marmalade, unfolding a little volatile lift. The aromatics are decadent and opulent. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is rich and vibrant with a deep core of very ripe apricot and tropical fruits, along with honey and orange marmalade and crystallised fruit elements. The mouthfeel is unctuous and opulent, succulent and plush, the flavours forming a positively driven line with plenty of energy. The richness is underlined by very fine textures, a slight acid cut and alcoholic power, carrying the wine to a ling and sustained decadent finish. This is a rich, decadent and opulent botrytised Viognier with ripe tropical fruit, apricot, honey and marmalade flavours with fine textural balance. Drink in a variety of situations and with different cuisines, but also with crème brulee and steamed puddings. ‘Clos Samuel’ is sited on a lower river terrace at the east end of the ‘Te Arai’ vineyard, and its proximity is conducive for the development of noble rot. Individual Viognier berries, fully botrytised, selected, given 24 hours soak and fermented in 114 L barrel to 13.0% alc. and 188 g/L RS, TA 7.6 g/L and pH 3.98. Certified Biogro organic and Demeter biodynamic. 19.0+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $80.00

Copyright © 2011 Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
Website by DataFlex | Design by Skinny