Millton Vineyard ‘Clos de Ste Anne’ 2014 Release
The ‘Clos de Ste Anne’ releases from the Millton Vineyard are arguably the most interesting, high quality wines from the Gisborne district. The wines showcase the region’s best performing varieties grown in a unique terroir on a hillside site. James Millton calls Domaine Clos de Ste Anne his ‘grand cru’ site, and the wines are of such distinctive character to him that he sees them as fitting tributes to his wife and business partner Annie.
To assess the potential of hillside vineyards in Gisborne, James and Annie established ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ with Chardonnay in 1980. Since then, they have extended the plantings to include Pinot Noir, Viognier, Syrah and Syrah, and the 12 ha estate includes in addition to vines, forest, amenity trees, olive plantings and livestock in an ecologically integrated operation, which is farmed organically and biodynamically; Millton being certified BioGro organic since 1989, and Demeter biodynamic since 2009. The ‘Naboth’s’ vineyard is now complemented by ‘La Cote’, ‘Les Arbres’, ‘The Crucible’, and ‘La Bas’ which is dedicated to the most suited variety, the fruit going to the ‘Clos de Ste Anne’ bottlings..
The wines draw inspiration from the best examples around the world, but capture the personality of the site and its terroir, and are made with the overriding philosophies and sum of experiences the Milltons have accumulated from over three decades of winegrowing. They combine technical expertise with soul and emotion, and empathy with the environment, and the influence of perspectives beyond. Last year’s 2013 ‘Clos de Ste Anne’ releases figured among the best wines I tried in the year. The vintage was seen as an exceptional one in Gisborne (click here to see my reviews). The 2014s also have a strong standing. The whites are taut, concentrated and possess minerally complexities, and the reds are well-structured, the Pinot Noir a step up in richness. Here are my reviews of the new wines, due for release on 1 March next month. www.millton.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Clos de Ste Anne ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ Gisborne Chardonnay 2014Chardonnay from New Zealand - GisbornReview Date : 03-Feb-2016Bright, full and even yellow colour with light golden hues. The nose is elegantly presented and finely concentrated with aromas of white stonefruits entwined with a complex amalgam of white florals, minerals and subtle gunflint lees and reductive detail. Medium-bodied, the flavours of white and yellow stonefruits are entwined with citrus and tropical fruit notes, and seamlessly melded with nutty, flinty and mineral nuances. The mouthfeel is smooth-textured with barrel-ferment creaminess balanced by a fine phenolic thread and poised acidity. This has energy and linearity, and the wine carries to a long, refreshing, taut and concentrated, stonefruity finish. This is a stylishly concentrated Chardonnay with stonefruit flavours and seamlessly interwoven flinty complexities, carried by a fine and fresh palate. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4-5 years. Chardonnay fruit from the older plantings, vines 25 y.o., in the original ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’, hand-picked and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new 228 L French oak barrels on lees with batonnage, but without MLF. 18.5+/20 Feb 2016 RRP $75.00
Clos de Ste Anne ‘Les Arbres’ Gisborne Viognier 2014Viognier from New Zealand - GisbornReview Date : 03-Feb-2016Bright, lemon-hued, light gold colour, paler on the rim. This has a tight and finely concentrated nose with intense aromas of ripe apricots, exotic florals, citrus blossom and tropical fruits unfolding fine, flinty lees detail. The aromatics are fresh and steely in expression. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the fruit flavours of apricots, exotic florals, citrus blossom and tropical fruits show richness and lusciousness, and unveil complexing nuances of nuts, flint and minerals. This has an unctuous mouthfeel, the richness balanced by refined phenolic textures, with soft acidity enhancing the rounded core. There is good alcoholic power and drive, and the wine flows to a full, soft and long finish with aromatic, exotic fruits. This is a rich, near-unctuous, exotic Viognier with intense fruit flavours flinty complexities and good power. Match with Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4+ years. Viognier from ‘Les Arbres’, whole bunches ‘crunched’ and indigenous yeast fermented in 600 L demi-muids to 14.0% alc. and 4.9 g/L RS, the wine aged 12 months in 2-3 y.o. oak on lees with little batonnage and no MLF. 19.0-/20 Feb 2016 RRP $60.00
Clos de Ste Anne ‘La Bas’ Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2014Chenin Blanc from New Zealand - GisbornReview Date : 03-Feb-2016Bright, light golden-yellow colour, a little lighter on edge. The nose is full and rich with good density of white and yellow stonefruit aromas entwined with complexing flinty lees and subtle minerally reductive nuances. Pineapple and tropical fruit detail emerges with time in the glass. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, white florals and nuts is initially shy, but unveils tropical fruits, pineapple, flint and mineral elements. The palate has good underlying alcoholic power and body, balanced by a fine phenolic line and crisp acid bite and cut. The palate leads to a dry, taut and firm finish with fine textures and good length. This is a taut and firm, dry Chenin Blanc with good body, stonefruit, tropical fruit and flinty flavours and fresh acidity. Serve with seafood, white meats and Pacific Rim fare over the next 4-5+ years. Chenin Blanc fruit from ‘La Bas’, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented in 600 L demi-muids to 13.5% alc., 2.1 g/L RS, TA 6.0g/L and pH 3.59, the wine aged 9 months in 3-4 y.o. oak on lees with batonnage, with no MLF of consequence. 18.5+/20 Feb 2016 RRP $75.00
Clos de Ste Anne ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ Gisborne Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - GisbornReview Date : 03-Feb-2016Light ruby-red colour with some depth, and pale garnet hues on the rim. The nose is full and deep with a concentrated array of savoury dark-red berry fruits melded with layers of dark herbs, undergrowth, red florals and nuances of game, earth and minerals. Medium-full bodied, the palate features mouthfilling and rich flavours of savoury dark red berry fruits entwined with layers of herbs, undergrowth and florals. The mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and fine, grained tannin extraction provides plenty of structure and grip. The wine has richness and textural balance with good linearity that carries the flavours to a crisp, textural, lingering finish of spices and herbs. This is a full, rich, lively and structured Pinot Noir with an array of savoury red fruits, florals, herb and undergrowth flavours. Serve with game meat dishes and casseroles over the next 6+ years. Hand-picked Pinot Noir Pommard clone fruit from the older plantings from ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ along with clone 777, 667 and 114 fruit from ‘La Pouche’, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with whole berries in small cuves to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 28 days on skins and aged 11 months in 10% new French oak barriques. 18.5/20 Feb 2016 RRP $60.00
Clos de Ste Anne ‘The Crucible’ Gisborne Syrah 2014Syrah from New Zealand - GisbornReview Date : 03-Feb-2016Dark, deep, ruby-red colour, lighter edged. The nose is elegantly proportioned with an intense, complex, aromatic amalgam of dark red and black berried fruits, spices, white and black pepper, unfolding exotic florals and liquorice notes. The aromas are refined, edgy and intensely vibrant. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-proportioned with penetrating flavours of black berried fruits entwined with spices, white pepper, liquorice and exotic dark-red and violet florals. The fruit is luscious and balanced by very fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction and complemented by integrated acidity. This has vitality and energy, and the wine flows with tension, leading to a concentrated and sustained finish of spices and pepper. This is an elegant, intense and vibrant Syrah with aromatic spices and peppery fruit, and fine-grained structure. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine over the next 6-8 years. Hand-picked fruit, predominantly Limmer clone, from ‘The Crucible’ indigenous yeast co-fermented with 5% Viognier in small 1,000 L cuves to 13.5% alc., the wine aged15 months in 600 L demi-muids, 40% new. 18.5/20 Feb 2016 RRP $75.00