The first biodynamic estate in New Zealand (and the first in the Southern Hemisphere to gain Demeter certification), James and Annie Millton have been growing wine in Manutuke on the banks of the Te Arai river in Gisborne since 1984. Farmed from inception in this manner, it was built on the backbone of family winegrowing in the area, with both James and Annie's parents having vines in what is now known as "Opou" and "Riverpoint". The Clos de Ste. Anne is a single vineyard situated on steep north-facing slopes in the foothills of Poverty Bay. The grapes are all hand harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts present in the vineyard. The estate is mostly known for their Chenin Blanc - a benchmark for the country - but they also grow wonderful Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
What The Critics Say
94/100 Wine Orbit, Sam Kim
"A gorgeous opulent style, the impressively fragrant bouquet shows orange peel, yellow stone fruit, potpourri and spice characters with a hint of flinty complexity. The palate delivers excellent fruit concentration and weight, wonderfully enhanced by rich texture and seamlessly integrated acidity. Mouthfilling and delicious. At its best: now to 2021. Certified organic & biodynamic. www.millton.co.nz. July 2017."
18.5+/20 Raymond Chan
"Bright yellow colour with pale golden hues, lighter on the rim. This has an elegantly proportioned nose with tightly bound aromas of exotic yellow stonefruits, citrus zest and florals along with apricot notes and hints of saline that form a concentrated core. This is fresh and youthful. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a firm core of yellow and white stonefruits entwined with exotic tropical fruits, citrus zest, nuances of apricots and saline notes. This has richness and concentration, and a near-unctuousness to the texture, balanced by alcohol cut and acid zestiness. The wine has strong drive, leading to an elegantly proportioned, lingering finish. This is a fine and firmly concentrated Dry Viognier with exotic fruits, citrus zest and florals, with good richness, drive and freshness. Match with pork, veal and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Hand-picked Viognier fruit from the ‘Riverpoint’ vineyard, vines aged back to 1997, 6% of the wine with 30 days skin-fermented and aged Viognier, along with 4% Marsanne and nearly 2% Muscat, indigenous yeast fermented in 300 L French oak and stainless-steel tanks to 13.6% alc. and 4.0 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic and certified Demeter biodynamic. 18.5+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $26.00."
Winemaker notes on 2015 vintage
A haunting wine with bristling delicacy, buoyed by a noted mineral edge. Poached pear and warm croissant give a spiced and sappy appeal. The salinity sings the proximity of the vineyard to its maritime environment. Riverpoint Vineyard sits in the Matawhero Appellation of the Gisborne winegrowing district. The original vineyard was planted in 1978 and in 1997 this vineyard was replanted with Viognier, amongst the first commercial planting of this exotic variety in New Zealand. Situated alongside the old Waipaoa riverbed the soils here contain high levels of fine silt and silken clays and these minerals assist in producing aromatic and dense wines. Proximity to the Pacific Ocean exposes the site to a cooling sea breeze during summer and this effect plays a pivotal role in capturing a special brackish salty aroma and a soft satin flavor. Muscat petit Grains was planted at Riverpoint in 2011 and Marsanne was planted in Opou Vineyard in 2010. The Viognier was harvested by hand, fermented in a mix of 300 litre French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks with native yeasts. Included in the final blend is a parcel of Viognier that spent 77 days fermenting on skins in open top 600 litre French oak barrels.
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