Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ Merlot/Malbec 2015


Wine producers have different tiers for a reason. At Mills Reef, as no doubt with most other wineries, Tim Preston, PaulDawick and the winemaking team go through a grading process for the parcels and lots they make. For Mills Reef, the flagship ‘Elspeth’ range is their no-holds-barred aim for best quality. The ‘Reserve’ range is also deemed of high quality, but clearly these wine have a degree of accessibility, and characters that don’t quite allow them to be included in the top wines. Then below are the ‘Estate’ wines, with sufficiently good expression, but maybe not the interest, richness and structure to make the higher grades. These offer value-for-money, of course. Anything not up to par to any of the standards required is usually sold off. I’ve found that the Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ wines often punch above their weight, and this is confirmed by wine competition results, where the wines can gain top awards. It’s a combination of the inherent high quality and balance that judges reward at shows. So those looking for some very smart drinking should not overlook the ‘middle tier’ wines from good producers. Here, I review the Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ Merlot/Malbec 2015, made from the company’s Gimblett Gravels fruit.


  • Mills Reef ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec 2015

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