(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.
(2007) Very rich, very powerful nose. Lots of very pungent floral-edged fruity aromatic. A touch of Nivea cream and plenty of punchy fruit. Mouthfilling, with lovely leafy, waxy rich tropical fruit, but then a fine grapefruit pithy acidity adds a cut and verve to the finish. Nice and tangy.
(2007) Gisborne fruit. 12 months in French oak, around 60% new. Rather oak-dominant at present with vanillin and buttery, toasty notes evident. A tropical fruit quality beneath. On the palate quite a rich texture, with a minty edge to very ripe orchard fruits. Fine, dry, juicy acidity and a long finish. At the moment it needs a little more time to integrate, but very promising.