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Featured Reviews

Mills Reef 2017 ‘Reserve’ Pinot Gris and Chardonnay

07 March,2018

Although Mills Reef have their winery and administration in Tauranga, it is undoubtedly a Hawke’s Bay winegrower foremost, with premium vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels district supplying fruit for their top ‘Elspeth’ wines and also for the more accessible ‘Reserve’ and ‘Estate’ tiers. The company also draws fruit from other districts of The Bay, especially for white wines, and other regions, such as Marlborough for these two ranges. Here’ I review two new release 2017 ‘Reserve’ whites, the Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, employing fruit from around Hawke’s Bay.


Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is very fine, fresh and intensely penetrating with aromas of exotic florals entwined with white and yellow stonefruits, hints of honeysuckle and mineral nuances. The aromatics form a firm and finely concentrated heart unfolding a little spic and notes of Turkish Delight. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is taut and firmly concentrated, somewhat restrained in fruit expression with stonefruit, floral and honeysuckle elements. The flavours form a deep core with rounder phenolic textures on mid palate, with soft, balanced acidity. This has linearity and the wine carries to a slender, dry finish. This P[inot Gris has a rich, exotic nose and a tight, restrained palate. It should develop greater richness over the next 3 years. Serve with Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese fare. Fruit from a single site in Maraekakaho, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 1.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 2 weeks on lees. 17.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $24.95

Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light golden-hued straw-yellow colour, paler on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with finely concentrated aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits with subtle, savoury citrus fruit, along with taut, nutty oak notes. This is fresh and lively and youthful in presentation. Medium-bodied, the palate has lively and vibrant fruit flavours of yellow stonefruits, savoury citrus fruits and soft notes of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. along with a little lemon-curd MLF, unfolding spice nuances. The flavours form a concentrated core with subtle textures and bright acidity providing energy. The wine carries to a long and sustained finish. This Chardonnay has restrained flavours initially, but grows positively to show stonefruit, citrus fruit and nutty oak on a bright, fine-textured palate. Match with grilled and roasted white meat dishes over the next 4+ years. Fruit from the Bridge Pa, Meeanee and Gimblett Gravels districts, barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 7 months in 75% French, 20% American and 5% Hungarian oak, of which 27% was new, undergoing batonnage and 16% MLF. 18.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $24.95

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