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Featured Reviews

Mills Reef ‘Bespoke’ 2016 Chardonnay and 2015 Cabernets

01 August,2017
Mills Reef have introduced a new range of wines named ‘Bespoke’. They will be positioned between the ‘Elspeth’ and ‘Reserve’ tiers and they aim to offer wines that "venture from the norm” says Mills Reef’s general manager Nick Aleksich. These will be "abstract and tailor-made” wines where the winemaking team are given free rein to craft smaller lots of high-quality wines of distinctive character, which can be unconventional is varietal composition or style. According to winemaker Tim Preston, the wines are an avenue to be creative and experimental. In wineries where this approach is taken, many of the techniques employed are often incorporated into the established tiers, thus increasing interest, complexity and quality. The labels bear the winemaker’s fingerprint, representing their uniqueness. Here, I review the two inaugural Mills Reef ‘Bespoke’ wines, a Chardonnay evoking the voluptuous style of old, and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc which combines the respective strength of structure and aromatics.


Mills Reef ‘Bespoke’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, light golden coloured heart, paler on the rim. The nose is softly full and voluminous with aromas of ripe tropical fruits harmoniously entwined with creamy and butty barrel-ferment notes, and balanced butterscotch and lemon-curd MLF elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has lively and vibrant, rich flavours of tropical fruits with a strong nutty oak presence lending the palate a firm core. The wine unfolds a complex amalgam of vanilla, creamy and nutty elements, subtle resinous nuances and buttery MLF. The wine flows along a fine phenolic-textured line with soft background acidity, carrying through to a fine, but firm, lingering finish of nuts, smoke and oak. This is a rich but firm Chardonnay with ripe tropical fruit and complex nutty, vanilla, toasty and resiny oak with creamy and buttery notes. Match with roast pork over the next 4 years. Fruit from Maraekakaho fully barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees, undergoing batonnage in 75% French and 25% American oak, 50% of the oak new, with 100% MLF. 17.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $34.95

Mills Reef ‘Bespoke’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter edged. This has a subtly full and voluminous nose with very refined aromatic expression, showing fragrant redcurrants with nuances of blackcurrants. The nose unfolds a little nutty oak detail. This is elegant and beautifully aromatic. Medium-bodied, the palate is refined and elegantly presented with sweetly rich and juicy redcurrant fruit flavours entwined with blackcurrant fruit notes. The fruit is fragrant and focussed, unveiling a little dark herb and nutty oak interest. The tannins are very fine-grained, lending a velvety structure and mouthfeel, and the acidity is balanced and integrated, but lends good freshness. The wine flows easily to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a beautifully elegant and fragrant Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc blend with sweet redcurrant fruit with subtle currant and herb detail on a smooth, fine-textured palate. Serve with lamb and beef dishes and Mediterranean fare over the next 5-7 years. A blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Cabernet Franc from the ‘Mere Road’ vineyard, vines 20 y.o., hand-picked and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 15 days on skins post ferment and aged 13 months in 68% French and 32% American oak, of which 39% was new. RRP $39.95
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