Young Bacchus Estate Martinborough 2014 and 2015

Norman and Linda Millar purchased the former home Cambridge Road block of Benfield & Delamare in Martinborough in 2012 with the intention of making a high quality Bordeaux-varietal wine in the manner that Bill Benfield and Sue Delamare did. The block continued to supply fruit for various producers in the district since the founders wound up the business with the 2006 vintage until the Millars took possession. The Millars have maintained the 0.6 ha vineyard with around 3,000 vines, replacing plants that have stopped performing. The vineyard is close-planted planted to approx. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and the age of the vines that are around 30 years old. They are tended by district veteran Glenys Hansen. For 2012 to 2014, the Millars engaged Chris Buring to make their wine, moving to Lance Redgwell, over the road, upon Buring’s retirement.

The Millars operation is called ‘Young Bacchus Estate’ named after a figurine that they purchased on a trip to Italy, and the face of young Bacchus has been reproduced by Linda on the label. I tasted the 2013 and 2014 vintages in April 2015 (click here to see my reviews). I found the wines possessed intense structure, but cooler spectrum flavours and elevated acidities. Such wines can evolve very slowly, so the Milars have asked me to reassess the 2014 vintage, and review the new 2015 wine, due for release at the start of June.

The 2015 comes from a very dry growing season with extremely low yields. As the Millars do not irrigate, they harvested only 700 kg of fruit to make 600 bottles available for sale. The wine is a commemoration of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, as picking for the fruit for the wine commenced at dawn 25 April, exactly 100 years later. The release date of the wine is expected to be 9 June 2017, which is the 100th year anniversary of the New Zealand Division’s participation in the landings. The commemorative label represents a personal connection for Norman. He served with the Auckland and Northland Battalion of the New Zealand Infantry Regiment, and also the King’s Own Scottish Borderers of the British Army, both units involved in the fighting at Gallipoli. To contact Norman and Linda Millar, Tel: 06 306-8288, or Email: [email protected]


  • Young Bacchus Estate Martinborough Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Young Bacchus Estate ‘100 Years’ Martinborough Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2015

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