(2023) A huge name in Marlborough, especially for Sauvignon Blanc, this sparkling blend is mostly Chardonnay with a little Pinot Noir, from vineyards in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. It is made by the Charmat method, so the second fermentation took place in pressurised steel tanks rather than individual bottles. That's the method for Prosecco and indeed, this is rather Prosecco like in some ways, though the very low residual sugar of 3.5g//l makes it much drier, leaner and more lemony in character.
(2023) From Millton's certified organic range of wines, this has a touch of gold to the colour, and an open nuttiness on the nose. Viognier peach and almond is expressed aromatically, with a touch of guava or something more exotic. In the mouth, textured and quite full-bodied, and that exotic fruit note is there, but driven along by a firmer white fruit and lemon acidity that keeps this taut through the mid-palate and finish. Price and stockist quoted for previous vintage at time of review.
(2022) Another of the great biodynamic practitioners of New Zealand, Millton's Te Arai vineyard is five kilometres from the sea, and experiences some Botrytis which may account for the 9.5g/l of residual sugar in this is off-dry wine. Fermentation and maturation take place in a combination of demi-muids (large 600-litre oak barrels) and stainless steel tanks. Burnished gold in colour, there's an open, and nutty character here, lots of wax and lanolin qualities, honeyed for sure, with fig and quince fruit. Glorious in the mouth - perhaps verging on medium-sweet, with toast and layers of sweet pear, baked apple and more tropical fruit, then a fine and bracing saltiness to the acids in the finish.
(2021) From Gisborne, this opens with pretty and delicate fresh-sliced apple and peach juice aromas touched by the tang of sea-spray. In the mouth substantial ripeness of fruit has a fruit gum brightness, with very nicely balanced acidity into the finish. Medium-bodied and very drinkable.
(2014) Renée Dale says "The wine I make is all about the story I want to tell. The nitty-gritty truth, the ups and downs, the pitfalls, the triumphs, the humour!" It's tough to say whether this bottle contains and of the above, but what it does offer is a beautifully refined take on Viognier, that is all about succulence and precision. The nose has such beautiful poise and elegance, with ripe pear and lightly floral aromatics that are quite tight, but a creaminess beneath of crushed almond, that also melds with a little tropical fruitiness. On the palate it is medium-bodied and the 13.5% alcohol is unobtrusive. There's a confit lemon character to this, with a touch of salt and plenty of juicy citrus, but that plays against the creamy texture and inherent sweetness of the fruit. Could it be criticised for lacking a little of Viognier's overtly perfumed character? Well, not by me as I loved the precision and sophistication of this wine.
(2013) Just 12.5% ABV here, Hint of wax and wool, lots of dry, crunchy apple fruit, lemon at the core. On the palate fabulous juiciness and freshness. Dry and pithy, with tight fruit and gorgeous definition. What a lovely, crisp Chenin this is, feeling as if it will have ageing potential, with that great, lemony thrust on the finish.
(2013) Fermented in oak barrels with natural yeasts, but only around 12% of the barrels are new. It has a lovely Brazil nut aroma and fine creamy character and plenty of vibrant, punchy orange and lime. Delicious wine, such gorgeous vibrancy punching through the oak, pristine, singing and vivacious and model stuff.
(2013) Terrific, classic Gewurz nose, with lychee and Nivea cream and lots of herbal notes coming through in a gentle leafiness. Full and weighty, though basically bone dry, the luscious or sweet character suggested by those aromatics not quite the reality on the palate with its lovely racy fruit and great core of acidity. Delicious, tangy, moreish stuff.
(2013) Just 12.5% ABV suggesting quite early picking perhaps, the wine made in oak casks and fermented with wild yeast. A hint of nutmeg and dry cranberry to a little gentle earthiness, with a smooth and delicious palate showing lots of balanced, light, racy crunch and gently dry fruit and tannin. Full of flavour and delicious balance, though better in a couple of years.
(2011) I'm a big fan of the biodynamic wines from James Milton's Gisborne vineyard. This Viognier has a hefty 14% ABV and was partially aged in older oak barrels. The nose is lusciously honeyed and peachy, with a touch of toffee and savoury honeysuckle character. On the palate it floods across the tongue, the slick, almost oily texture filled with almost meaty flavours, the savoury density adding to that impression, though really sweet-toned, apricot and peach fruit asserts on the mid-palate. Wow, this is a big wine, but it never overbalances as a core of tight, white fruit and mineral acidity is always part of the picture, giving more savour and bite into a long, nutty finish. Quite something.